Complete Instructions for Playing Amazing Grace on the Bagpipe

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013: POETRY

by Marci Rae Johnson

—for Thom Caraway

When you came up
out of your office into
the customary light you

heard it. In the gap
between the two
buildings you heard

it bounce one to the
other. You on one
side with your red

ball cap the priest
on the other wearing
purple the veil of

light cloud 57 degrees
and high humidity.
You heard it and

the air lifted just
a slender wing flap
of skin paper cut

blood turning blue
to red. This is not
a cliché because you

are the one who
turned his head
who broke the barrier

between sound and
the desire to say
that it matters.

You the particular one
stopping to listen
to rub between your

thumb and forefinger
the sweat of sky on brick.

 

Marci Rae Johnson teaches English at Valparaiso University, where she serves as poetry editor for The Cresset. She is also the poetry editor for WordFarm Press.