Architecture of a Cold August

      by Judith Root


They played out their lives
against mahogany as if dark

wood led only to tragedy.


Dated and filed, her faults

were stairs to a wall, second

floor doors to nowhere.

Her hair arcing away from him

spiraled into thoughts as

sheer as light, as blowsy

as the present. She dreamed

vertical blinds and quarry tile,

lofts where ceilings of sweet


jazz or rock opened to blue

grass vistas instead of chants,

Gregorian square notes counter-


pointing wavy windowpanes,

their lead frames straining
to surround her with graphs


and grids, hissing flow

charts that followed them

from room to spare room.

from Free Will and the River