BY Josh Ruffin

In October, on the other
side of the coffee shop's ankle
to ceiling front window,

church bells tone and vesper
sparrows finally arrived from
the north boomerang out

beyond the tower and back
again. At the table, I'm having
a conference with a freshman
composition student who wants

to write about technology, how
it's like bad for humanity,

and in the laurel
green of whose eyes I see

fiber optics lacing the iris
like compression lines in the open
face of split rock. I'm distracted

neither by her 

beauty nor the beauty
of anything anymore, I hear

quadratics in symphonies for god
sake, and should be amazed
she routes delicate shocks from brain

to wire to ether to check

her bank balance, waiting
to take notes on what
I say. But I don't know what to say,

this silence like anything
instinct. Later, rain, and it perfectly
magnifies the world until
I with a swipe of my hand

blur it across my glasses. The hour bares
its teeth, the tower's parapets

empty, I pass below it and want
to dream child-like of flying,
a mechanical bird in song.

Spec Script: Knife-Forging Scene

          -For RL

When the time comes, there's nothing
left to say, or do you

hightail it to the misty
dreamt-up jungle, pup tent,

flint and grinning
dime-store skull you'll hang from

a young cedar to ward
off the good

spirits in hand. Be
still until the distant

blade of grass bending
beds down like a memory

of untended buckshot, match note for note 

the stitched lips of silence. Before you know it, your
edge is atom-thick and can

coax a groove into a band
of spider silk. Test it: split the fishing line

tethered to your own smile, bid moon
peek through the eye

and baying, enter heaven.


Josh reads "Progression" & "Spec Script: Knife-Forging Scene"

Josh Ruffin has held jobs as a college composition instructor, radio producer, peach picker, and ineffectual bouncer. He was a finalist for the Paumanok Poetry Award, and his work recently received a special mention in the Pushcart anthology. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Post Road, Booth, The Southeast Review, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He lives and works with his wife in Wisconsin.