Tango for Thursday

First notes promote the innocence of knives,
but follow-up notes
leave muscles clinging to bone.

The rest of it reminds me
of a helicopter crashing onto Main Street,
broad daylight, blades splintering our faith
in Jesus, again, incognito
as aliens crease the Secret Service lawn
before a colonial porch at the White House.

Notes that follow―
you don’t want to know―
remind me of a fire engine red propane grill
bluffing its way through middle age.

Just now black grand piano notes like ice cubes
splinter the bandoneon.

The bandoneon shakes her hips
sending ice cubes across the onyx room.

A mustache of mystery
raises its stupid head from the grave,
squints one eye through the hollow tube of history.

The bandoneon says we can resurrect decency trampled
along with most of our basic rights
as human beings.

We can and we will.

A knife cuts infinite ways—angels sing
about turning the blade inward, but angels
don’t do that—I say, whatever you do,
don’t do that.

In August 2015 Alan Britt was invited by the Ecuadorian House of Culture Benjamín Carrión in Quito, Ecuador as part of the first cultural exchange of poets between Ecuador and the United States. His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. He has published 15 books of poetry, including his latest, Violin Smoke, translated into Hungarian by Paul Sohar and published by Iradalmi Jelen Könyvek publishers. Read other articles by Alan.