Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Blue Danube

Toni Thomas
From Prairie Schooner, Vol. 85, No. 1 (Spring 2011)

You buy happiness
with a steel wick
crowbar it to an unyielding clothesline
as if the curse of desolation means
a loss of buffed shoes
a hint of want
that drives worm holes into the
carefully etched wood.

September comes with its thrifty tongue
the fragile egg cup
the fusion of school days, boxed lunches
dinner with the pot boiling
lust left to drag its guttural grey
between the length of the
sandwich bread.
Our love grows apostolic
cramped on a thin lip.
My hemlines' perfect luminaries are bleeding.

A desert of blue envelopes
elopes with the wind.
The children grow docile in their tidy shoes.
Something keeps running away with my feet.
You witness my half-sung body
my refusal to be slain by safe hands
and I sing
"All the world's a crock of shattered Blue Danube."
My mother sang that to me.
In my deepest heart I am fleeing
what can't be born here.