Steve Mueske: Three Poems
Kitchen Homily | The Blind Man and His Dog | For All I Know
One day, the last of the four wedding toasters
leaped madly from the counter in a trail of crumbs.
No one saw it coming, not even the silverware,
who usually take pride in knowing everyone's
business. The trembling saltshaker watched
as the toaster swung from its cord, pendulous
and heavy in the early morning dark, wall socket
sparking with blue fire. The small appliances,
already nervous by nature, ground, puréed, cut,
and otherwise opened various sections of air
until the circuit blew and they stopped, cold
and speechless. It's all come to this: the fridge's
heavy shiver into silence, the microwave's dark
on dark freedom from the tyranny of green digits,
the solid, final thump of the toaster on the floor
milliseconds before the cutlery assume control.
The Blind Man and His Dog
At the red light a blind man and his dog,
a German Shepherd in a leather harness,
step out onto the snow-covered, icy crosswalk.
The man walks surely, his head leveled
and straight, as though he is not blind at all.
And he is not. It is trust that makes him see.
He is a man who trusts in his dog, a warm
body pressed close to his leg. The dog, though,
is a master of appearances, its muscular front
legs guiding the two of them effortlessly across
the ridges of white snow, black ice, and brown
dirt. Only the back feet, lifted every third
or fourth step in a quiet hop, betray its pain
in the ten-degree-below-zero weather. I wonder
how far they've come together this morning
or if, when they get home, the man will prepare
a warm bowl of water and get down on his knees
and gently wash the dog's paws. I wonder if the dog
will sit there in that bright parlor and close its eyes,
feeling its soul warm and its mind fill with sight.
For All I Know
poetry slips out of the lizard brain at night
unfettered from its cage of words,
hungry and slippery with fire
gliding along the ground like a shadow,
voiceless and soundless
full of the soundtrack of semen and blood.
rising to its full height, it becomes shadowy and watchful
and wherever it sees there becomes a city
and there in the city are people
and all of the people are dreaming
and all of their dreams are about wakeful things
and these wakeful things make the cities
move and undulate like heat waves on asphalt,
and when it returns again and becomes
leashed in its dark cave,
there it grows, unbearably
into a cool, white
Steve Mueske graduated summa cum laude from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, with degrees in English and Philosophy. A prose writer and poet, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of electronic and print journals including Satire, Wisconsin Review, Renaissance Magazine, Blue Fiction Magazine, Seedhouse, South Dakota Review, Carve Magazine, Stagger, ForPoetry, SalonDAarte, SouthernCross Review, Mobius, Poetry Motel, Reflections, Niederngasse, Bouillabaisse, still, Water-Stone, ArtWord Quarterly, Red River Review, and Water-Stone. The editor of Three Candles, he lives in Burnsville, Minnesota, with his wife and two daughters.