Touch: The Journal of Healing



Music in the Time of Plague

    by Tina Hacker

He says his music will protect him,

and searches for melodies to glove

the Black Death’s talons.

When I pass by, he strums

a love song about my hair,

tells me I am beautiful.

His words are not fit for a widow.

They slide into my mouth,

sweet as apples,

interrupting my prayer,

Lord, please spare one of my children.

Leave one I can sing to in the night.

Can his music soothe the Death?

He brags about two songs

that will dance in Death’s path,

arms of notes entwining,

legs of rhythm tripping,

forcing the pestilence from our village.

And yet he sings of my hair.

Lord, please spare one of my children.

I know I may lose two, maybe three.

But not all, Lord. Not all.

His tunes end their dance,

now flee into the streets,

rushing from the ominous bells.

He reaches out to touch my hair.

I must not be tempted.

My daughter is ashes now;

the stench of her burning flesh

molests the air

and mingles with the apples

that turn tart between my lips.

One child, Lord.

And one last time to feel a man’s weight

between my thighs.

© 2011  Tina Hacker

Tina Hacker, author of Cutting It (The Lives You Touch Publications), is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, has been Editor’s Choice in two journals, and a finalist in New Letters poetry competition. Her work has appeared in numerous journals as well as anthologies such as Show + Tell, Imagination & Place: Ownership and Missouri Poets.  Her poetry appears in several issues of Touch: The Journal of Healing, most notably as the Editor’s Choice in the September 2010 issue.

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Touch: The Journal of Healing

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