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Viterbo University > TOUCHSTONE Magazine > Issue 67 > Literature > Fugue

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By Bill Stobb

Hospital helicopter skates south
over the river corridor-urgency and ease
in its glide and rotor hum. Out of town, a boy
has given his arms to a thresher, or perhaps
a traveler lies at rest, half through a windshield.

Once, a truck-full of police with clear
plastic shields sped away from city center
past a row of shops over basement apartments
where tenants ring chimes and light candles
in shrines they build each day.

Once, this place was on fire.
Once, under water. Once, this place
hurtled through a sudden dream
of light and heat, was in form, unprecedented
in matter, all becoming of song.

Involvements slide toward jaywalkers,
café loiterers, anyone who listens
to the chimes from the cathedral.
All surfaces like beautiful sounds.
Hints of orchestration. Rich textures.

When lovers set the glass pipe down
on the bed stand of the rented room
a shaft of street light plays smoke, plays skin.
They exhale and descend into body.
Evolve into pitch and pace.

Days of arranging the involvement, held out
like the draw of a bow over strings.
Round wind in the throat of an oboe.
Wind in the street, a wash of sound,
chimes for every hour.