Belle Reprieve

Poem by Lea Gulino


Outside the window of their first floor flat,
His undershirts, drying on the line, break the tender blue.
Kowalski. And his wife, that poor sweet soul.
The hotter it got, the louder they fought.
Usually ending with a crack, then silence.

The soft weeping that followed could sometimes be heard from the stoop.

But one night the crack sounds like a bell.
The silence lasts longer
And rather than weeping,
A dragging sound down the stairs
Thump, thump round back to the river.

A distant piano plays slow and blue as moths fill the light.
Mrs. Kowalski quietly closes the screen door behind her.

LEA GULINO is a voice actor and writer, living on a big wooden boat in Sausalito, California. Her poem, “immemorial,” appears in the latest volume of So It Goes, the literary journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Library.