Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Richard T. Rauch

A Joyful Noise (with parasols)

  Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
                                  – Psalm 100 (KJV)

Time is a measure of our distaste.
So says my mother thinking out loud
all too often. And I’m thinking mauve
parasols bobbing along the Seine
impressionistically, of course, spring
strolls in tasteful 1890s lace—
muted colors, excellent posture,
corsets, bustles, petticoats, and hats.

Too much myopia these days, too.
Everything’s a blur. At which point, I
find myself nodding in agreement.
And she says we’ve lived too long, but I
say I’m only 53, and she
says I mean me, brushing back her hair
like the flirt she must have been, painting
smiles on both our faces in mad strokes
of tenderness sharing the sunset,
cicadas coming alive to the night.

Refolding Roadmaps

Blackjack oaks to the east branch like intersections,
leaves fading green and yellowing like metropolitan areas.
And my mind is flowing like a navigable waterway,
turbulent but blue, pouring over an old roadmap, flooding
with memories, line of sight vaguely to the southeast, swaying
in a hammock as if lost and traveling too fast
down an unimproved road, chased by Rand McNally
into a summer breeze that lifts its dog ears
and flutters its reworked creases and tears, evidence
of frequent, impatient folding, refolding—

expectations unfolding along an interstate of dreams, free
from the Gulf station on the corner: new names, strange
places, roads to somewhere, everywhere right there
at your fingertips, “at the sign of the orange disc,” free.

Heading north now for some relief, my finger traces
a line over many boundaries, but I’m stuck here
shrouded beneath a live oak’s earth-seeking branches,
wanting to fly. Shadowing clouds beating thunder roll in
from the west. The rain comes suddenly and hard, drenching me,
tented under my open map, soaked now to pulpiness, running
colors, that will soon dry stiff, impossible to fold.

Already, I can hear its crinkling attempts
to refold itself accordion style, wheezing
soft zydeco melodies reverberating
from the bottom of the trashcan, calling my fingers
to free it, open it, unfold it one last time
to explore its new topography, its new, random blurs,
luring me down yet another scenic route,
down another back road, where I’ve been lost before.

©2011 by Richard T. Rauch

Richard T. Rauch was born and raised in the suburbs of New Orleans, and currently lives along Bayou Lacombe in southeast Louisiana. A physicist by training, Rick tests rockets that may one day enable human explorers to escape Earth orbit and fly to Mars and beyond. His poetry has appeared or is about to appear in The Alembic, California Quarterly, Hotel Amerika, Many Mountains Moving, Milk Money, The Oxford American, Quiddity, and Westview.

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