Apparition Bliss

2012 National Finalist

Apparition Bliss

Sidewalks shivered, and
the gutters drowned.

I shuddered for them from
a van that thundered
toward the Alpine peaks,
through the lightning ember,
to the horizon.

And from my cell
behind the window tint,
I saw amidst the storm
a man and instrument.

Horsehairs rippled
in the wind. He leapt like spring
showers off sheet-metal rooftops,
laughter sleeting back into the sky.
And where the power lines had once hung slack
the songsmith tuned them natural.
They trembled, an overgrown Aeolian harp;
the world was one quivering pitch.

Oh, sweet Bliss,
how easily
you deceive me!

Outside the windows
of a van that thundered
toward the Alpine peaks
he wore a toothless grin,
picking at his fiddle
eagerly as
the Moonflower
opens into night.


Benjamin Steinberg, age 16
Los Altos Hills, California

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