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Short Story Poem

Above the Roof and Below the Sky, Waiting for Nyx

“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too truly to be fearful of the night”.
Sarah Williams

… contented, twilight strolls.
In kneel, the attesting sun
settles the remnants in day’s argument
for the blue-eyed Celestine.
Its warmth, a still embrace
in the long of a summer’s evening
takes expected leave at horizon’s gate
on graceful bow in daily etiquette.
Throws a last vibrant parting kiss
then nods and bends regal
into a knowing violet
exiting descent on pale yellow
And I await …
that tempest in astral light
coming nocturnal prance in constellations.
Nebula in gaseous gowns
ㅤㅤ ㅤswirl elliptic as platinum galaxy.
Distant shimmer off radial faces
Celestial myths connect in their Greek traceries
ancient creatures and oddities
in enumerous starlight.
All hum and hushed in unctuous cantata
to a rather languid matrix
black queen, the goddess
ㅤ ㅤthe Nyx.
I did vibrate
in momentary youthful jitter
prepubescent girl, in brave desire
— in looming of the darkness tonight.

public domain

Too precocious a child
and treated always as such
never let to trial or stray
shushed daydreams
ㅤ ㅤ…all forms in shadow
would come to dominate.
Raised too milquetoast
homogeny in endless whites
leaf-eyed sprout grown
colorless and too sanitized
in voiceless curtsy and a smile
and in my stride, too fearful
and too joyless .
In a dedicated brooding one midday
while left in my familiar alone
I would foster a revolt by escapade.
First incautious step
to find that evocative place
ㅤㅤ ㅤoverheard
in muffled rumors on Chardonnay toasts
from bored wives and young widows.
A tittered topic swirling in a gossip
at the bottom of goblets
a second-hand bookstore and owner
sounding quirky and perfect
to an eavesdropping ten year old
ripe for exploring.

Mother away on a mother’s errands
rebellion would ensue –escape
on six adventurous afternoons.
Each day started
in unalterable standard:
newly starched pale crisp cotton dress lay ready
beside a pair of glaringly white anklets
and at my bed foot
dainty leather-soled Capezio slippers
doe-nosed toes in dutifully buffed
shiny black patent.
Out the gate of a backyard fence
this prissy fledgling flit
stealthily down unfamiliar paths
then hand-in-hand
with obstinance in promenade
into a dank and sooty alley.
In a narrow between two buildings
and in their lingering shadow
an out-of-the-way cubby hole
in a tatty brick wall stood
And into it willingly fell this rabbit.

Below the foliate and meandering curlicues
of hand-wrought iron flange
hung a precise and simple metal sign
in elegant gold on black:
Ramses Q. MacNamara
Antiquarian & Used Books
ㅤㅤ Rare Curiosities.
A recessed traditionally grand threshold
painted in a crimson gaiety
held a glazed and carved red door
with large stalwart bronze knob
waiting to serve.
The pane above it hosted a small card
the color of aged parchment
instructing in gothic black calligraphy:
“Please Knock. Then Enter.”
Two raps by small hesitant fist
then capturing my breath
into the portal I stepped.
As punctilious greeter and warning
suspended off the door’s upper inside edge
a tiny brass engraved bell
when motion engaged
tinkled merrily in rapid little noise
like pings in crystal voice
of a nervous wren.
I stood, near rooted, in drop-jaw stare
into shop’s dim light and enchanting clutter
its interior shown thru a haze
of an ocean’s soft green-gray at dawn.
Nose tingling to a glorious scent,
like an alchemist’s odd perfume,
hovering thick in the stock-still air
–lovingly perused pages, dusty old leather
and sweet & sour cherry pipe tobacco.

A cache where usual and peculiar lurked
among the many shelves in books
several glass vitrines, tall and secured,
cradled a most fanciful array in curios.
Among these curiosities
the most curious of which
was that of Mr. Ramses.
A stout, animated and jubilant little man
hands ever waving to melody in his accent.
His graying shoulder-length waves
topped always in a tattered eggplant tam
with mopish pom in scarlet.
His small pleasant mouth,
fixed permanently
in a sideways smile, balancing
a small scrimshawed pipe
in shape of graceful lady’s leg, unlit
yet replenished often in fresh tobacco
… instantly, I adored him.
It would be here
I’d come to find, for me,
a most wonderful thing
ㅤㅤ ㅤ…e v e r.

Hidden beneath precarious stacks
en masse of paperbacks
in tales of chivalrous soldiers
and swooning maidens in undying love
sat a small antique vellum bound compendium.
An assemblage in century’s old black & white
engravings of heliocentrism,
astronomy and astrology.
Enthralling little gem
…a budding mind’s treasure.
Classic gold gilt stamped title
on its membrane cover and spine
read simply,
“the Heavens.”
Inside the frontis wore in pride
a very old hand illustrated bookplate
of previous owners vivid armorial device.
Inked below in the motto’s scroll

a name just as fascinating:
Zapos Titus Stellar.
I’m brought to girlish chortle in a conceit
for recognition of a surname
… Stars.
When asked the book’s price
$16.17 was his answer.
And strangely, every sou I had
and previously laid upon that counter
tallied exactly

Tomorrow’s escape –
to steal silently away
at dusk.

I lean and straddle attic window sill
of an abandoned Victorian lady
my heart beating anxious
her bats and I in waiting
as Peeping Tom-asina.
Child’s wonderment rests in my lap
–prying interest of a brass spyglass
and that marvelous little vellum agency
to the sky in starlight.
Against dusk’s expanse
in falling velvety hues
a flirt in transitory whirl of clouds
enhance an attar of mystery.
Delicate brush by traversing finger tips
of eve’s occasional wind
raise my sense,
my alone,
and restless.
Small hairs alert and cooled
upon a pale prickled skin.
I fidget and pick at incidental crackling
in neglected casement
–time’s trails on unimaginative white
in repeat and peeling.
(how I’m coming to loath
white in most things.)
My compendium in one hand
held to my breast
I shift ever-so impatiently
remaining hesitation in afraid
as steel gray and slate
turn deeper shades
that menagerie still skulking
hooded in the goddess’ countenance.

She undulates lethargic
thru my refractive lens
ashen smoke curls
off the spread of a Merle’s wings.
in billow and soar
of charcoal and deepest indigo
she’ll surround the view
of emerging twinkle
ㅤㅤ ㅤand moonbeams.
My pulse increasing
her destiny (entwined with mine)
u n f o l d i n g.
The Orb grasps her tenderly
by unraveling waves of raven hair
in ascent his luminous spotted face
in all her flow and flight
–moon’s breach in her cloak of night.
In contradiction they gently rise
each better as accomplice to the other
the vast black to guardian in silverlight.
The dark maiden does unfurl
both sumptuous and sinister
onto a once ardent horizon.
My young fear ingrained
in loom of shadows
subsides as she brings into her nighttide
an array in phantasm
born in the star-struck minds
of Sumerian and Babylonian
ignited imagination.

public domain

Out of these parted lips emerged my first in a gasp,
but not my last,
at the awe in profound and darkened sky.
“I am aware of you now, you can not hide…”
I boldly taunt in a whisper.
Observer to the unabashed mythology
while glaring up from a dormer,
“…until the gloaming strolls again,
ㅤ ㅤYou are mine!”
The Nyx, silent.
ㅤㅤMoon and I, now
both smiling.
I’m quite certain
unless just a crust
in these sleepy eyes,
I saw that silvery sphere

I think I shall make the request
for a new dress
ㅤㅤstill starched crisp
ㅤㅤ ㅤ ㅤ ㅤㅤand in black.

Moonlight (Clair de Lune)

NASA Goddard video


With special thanks to A. Maguire
A Poem For Girls Young & Old
©jef littlejohn 2018

Poet/Storyteller ~A Conflict of Words in Tussle With a Pen For a Life of Rhyme. Poetry for The Lit Up, The Junction, PS I Love You, Resistance Poetry

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