by Dah Hemler

Outside, at this café,

the muddled noise

from so much chatter.

The color of the sky

is a blue circle.

At the same time, a woman,

dressed as a hillbilly,

strums a banjo in such a repetitive way

that each recurring chord is like

the metallic backwash of a sickness.

The birds have stopped singing

out of fear

that the intrusive banjo is a predator.

Abruptly, a table of older men

erupts into extended laughter.

The deformed banjo noise stops.

The birds are singing again, and,

with hasty movements,

the Hillbilly packs it in and moves on,

and my eyes can do nothing

but follow her until she disappears.

The color of the sky

is a blue circle. The sun

is a yellow circle. The café tables

are black circles. And the birds,

with their ancestral songs, are all

that is needed to complete

this circle of beauty.

Dah Hemler’s poetry has been reviewed most recently in The Sandy River Review, Stone Voices Magazine, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Orion Headless, Words & Images In Flight, and Miracle Magazine, and is forthcoming in Perfume River Review and the Berkeley Poetry Review. The author of two collections of poetry from Stillpoint Books, his third collection is to be published by Stillpoint Books in 2014. Dah lives in Berkeley, California where he is working on the manuscript for his fourth book.