Muse Story

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My friend David Huddle imagines a poem’s muse as one of the birds auditioning in his garden, a small but ferocious voice nobody sitting among the ferns can turn away from, it’s worse if you stand at glass keeping the snow and brilliant holly berries outside, in a teasing swirl of ice-wind, say. I like his thinking. I’ve felt bird spirits fly inside my head, songs trying to get out, some controller watching the time, a faceless spark-dodging denizen of a really dark place not letting happen what shouldn’t yet. She, that’s how I think of this monster, can swell a huge room with a sound an angel would screw you to have. She can whisper the way a snowflake does falling still at last, you only have to feel her hands hover to know whatever she’s got to touch will be better than the best orgasm you’ll ever dream. I think the sidelong look she has is a hawk’s, the glance a hummingbird’s beak, but for full-on character display she has the rising owl-skim just above your skull, talons held up barely as she soars from a tree. She could touch you anytime and your brain blister out like a rose, your tongue turn hard as holly blackened by winter. I don’t think a man chooses in this story. Maybe a cloud of them arrives Thursday night. They have to do something to you then, and then flee, all except the one who chooses you, listening. There’s no accounting for taste, someone’s bent over laughing where yours comes from. Jesus Christ, someone’s saying. Really, him?