summer’s last day

his ears shone redly in the setting of the sun
his puff of hair an orange, a halo of light
and the earthworms drowsed in a rusty can
at his feet, toes splayed and warmly pink

if only there’d been another minute
one more hour to append the day
a breath stolen beneath the moon

grasshoppers made their ruckus in the tall grass
stroking limbs to their wings like tiny violins
water shimmered with the scales of spotted bass
the line’s arc and plish was his blithesome song

if only there’d been another minute
one more hour to append the day
a breath stolen beneath the moon

and so everything breathed, full of bliss and love
in this treasured moment, my memory of him
we stared into the carefree summer clouds above
before they trammeled the horizon into sepulchral night

if only there’d been another minute
one more hour to append the day
a breath stolen beneath the moon

for our shine to outlast a little while

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

eidolon (we)

and so do we all decant
all along our silent roads
incant in silent refrain:

‘when the book of breathing is closed
when the clocks are covered in the town of lazarus
when the faience of minds has declined to the last’

in that final silence that befalls us all
will the ghost of you remember me
and gather up the ghost in me
will you lovingly take the ashes and bone
and carry me home

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

eidolon (he)

this is the forgotten road
a funnel for the words we could never say
but should have
where his pain keeps step with the ghost of me
to this very day

of all the memories that could have been taken
what is the use of this last one
the one that was left behind
took on a life of its own
and with it has taken his own

i have wept in secret
through weather properly clement or not
and long after my heart had stopped
when i tried no longer to claw through earth
to claim again my former resplendence

the bones of me in this burial mound
the ghost of me in his room again
his bereavement heartfelt vain
one could pain to refill with hope
but his is a barrowman’s chore
and the husk that lingers
mere baggage for the day

and as much as the life not owned
was the purpose not sown
i still pine for that which was human
aimless and pointless tho’ we were
our lungs in chorus were a blessing

his pain keeps step with the ghost of me
silent words for a silent road
and when we think nobody is looking
leaning into myth to light our way
but is it okay that we inevitably fall

we have wept in secret
through weather properly clement or not
and long after his heart has stopped
when he tries no longer to claw through earth
will we meet again in former resplendence

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

eidolon (she)

paint the room
herr weltschmerz has come to stay
and nothing will ever be the same again

tho’ the weather’s properly clement
tho’ he’s never cried the blues before
what left can be properly said
of a man who’d tried to claw back the earth
to kiss his truelove’s final resplendence

the ghost of she keeps count with him
there to haunt his bereavement vain
what can he be but indentured to sorrow
a pain as wide as the days unstemmed

he sorely regrets he’d ever been human
mouthing silent words oft kept for silent roads
and for fear he’ll decant so many more along the way
stands deathly instead as a stone unyielding
locked inside with his grief… and losing

herr weltschmerz has come to stay
veins shockingly open to the unspooled light of day
paint the room

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

PERFECTION IN ACTION // The Last Bedtime Story

Her hair was like straw, a far cry from how it used to be. She no longer adorned it with dandelions. Nor did she wear clovers or ladybugs to make it grin with a certain visual poetry. No, a brush of dry, prickly, lifeless bristles was all that greeted his touch.

“Don’t worry, honey,” she whispered, cutting a faded tress. “We’ll bring our Summer back.”

And so they painted on the lush green grass with the remnants of her youth. Dewy dandelions and sleepy ladybugs. Clovers and sweet peas. Then the hedgehogs joined them in the sunlight, and they danced.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021