The Black Unicorn
The clock, hanging on my drawing room wall,
never sounded so loud,
the eccentric ticking, monotonously, reminds me
of days past. I tell myself, the terrible days are passed.
Ghosts share this silent house, their tiny sounds
personified by the noise of age and failing wood.
Floorboards moan with each step. I scrape
my feet along, mostly to hush the boards,
Listen, Spirit noise: a small ringing in the ears or shredded voices in
the hum of telephone wire, cloudy and distant.
The illusive blessing was never conferred, they chant.
Love was an obstacle that couldn’t overcome, they whisper.
Ghosts still haunt those explosive relations.
My other self chimes in at the sound of the clock.
And we digress to endless possibilities.
I talk to myself, a sign of dementia,
but it’s these damned voices that keeps me remembering.
When I was a boy I had a magic horse,
a unicorn, black as the darkest thought.
Made of rags, he carried me away from quarrelling,
rants, flying fists and angry eyes,
to secret gardens where I could be safe from turmoil.
Later, older, we went to smoky places with Indian lutes,
and theaters where recklessness was the main attraction.
I flew away from melancholy, built walls. Painful walls.
This house has become a dreary refuge, an old horse,
skin glistening with sweat, and hip bones showing.
The shrinks reckoned: dysfunctional home, make believe,
dark swimming dreams. When they asked me about the horse,
I told them everything, where every dream and nightmare
was buried. . . I still hear the voices.
Bruce Majors has published poems in Pirene’s Fountain, Ontologica, Wordgathering, Arts and Letters, Pinesong, The Distillery, River Poets Journal, Number One, and other literary journals. His collection, The Fields of Owl Roost, was named finalist in the 2005 Indie Excellence Book Awards. The chapbook Small Patches of Light was published in September 2013 by Finishing Line Press. Majors co-edited the anthology, Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets, which included such poets as Robert Morgan, Dan Powers, and Bill Brown. Mr. Majors is a member of the Chattanooga and Knoxville Writers’ Guilds.