Ode to Euterpe
by John C. Mannone
      Giver of light
      in the shadow
      of a shade tree

I kiss her behind the ear,
whisper something honey-sweet,
provocative, seductive,
a ploy for her whole body
of words, not dictionary
or thesaurus, but the spark
of letters: a connection
of riverbank, rock and hope,
or of love and summer rain.
She tosses a tender thought,
a maple leaf that ripples
the river as it sails through
the crests fanning out like time
riding glitter—the sunlight
broken on blue-gray water.

In an instant, I’m wide-eyed—
a largemouth bass darting for
those sparkles—a myriad
of lures, every one a thought
baiting my past, and twirling
down through the shadowy depths.
I jump out of the water
to catch one, fleeting, misty
like a rainbow, its colors
flashing hope, my own silver,
a song of longing, memory
of childhood, a passion.
Today, you’re on the other
end of that long swift line
of words reeling me in.

(First published as “My Muse Under a Shade Tree” in AUIS Literary Journal)

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