A rain of cherry blossom petals fell from the sky
that afternoon, in silence, for an hour,
heralded by a single peal of distant thunder
from beyond the mountains.
Every place where the pink petal rains fell
fell silent. The people walked slowly and carefully
all of a sudden, stunned into wordlessness.
The blossom petals fell on our heads,
and covered our windshields, and buried our rooftops,
and obscured our streets and roads and lanes, too;
we looked up into the sky and saw so much pink
there was nothing but the strange emotion
that comes from beholding so much everything
in the bright and rosy quietude.
For that hour, there came no sound between the skyscrapers;
the zoos, the parks, the woods all lost their voices
and the highways, for once, stopped screaming.
Everyone tried to talk but no one could say a word;
I mean, we wanted to speak but we did not know how
with all of this frightening beauty coming down on us.
I tried to find you in that peaceful tempest,
but I couldn’t when it grew stronger;
I didn’t worry about you though,
because I knew you were also in this storm
and it would be like we were in the same dream.
When we finally did see each other,
the next morning, under a sky full of whispering stars,
all of the things that we wanted to say
just fell away from our minds like ice melting,
like bank notes falling from an airplane,
the echoing ring of an unstruck bell.
Asylums Were Made So Nobody Would Have To Leave
The photographer shows me all the pictures he took
of the numerous insane asylums, abandoned and long-defunct,
that he has spent time visiting and photographing
during his travels all across Old Europe and Old America.
Who knew there ever used to be a scary Old America
until these pictures were seen, these sepia tone horrorscapes
of benches with manacles in spider-webbed laboratories
covered in a dusting of ground-up memories and time?
Who could remember that there used to be mansions
where only screams and shouts and chandeliers made their homes,
where the chairs came with strange cones attached to the backs of them,
operating benches in the middle of two-lane bowling alleys
in the middle of laundry rooms in the middle of homemade churches?
Of all the photographs this man shows to me, though,
only one has a voice I can nearly hear and find myself terrified of:
a piano, carved of dark oak with beautifully-sculpted legs
stands alone in a room full of dirt and broken glass and bloodstains,
and underneath the most uncomfortable-looking piano stool I’ve ever seen
there’s torn and faded sheet music lying curled up on the floor
like dove wings clipped, like Christ’s wrappings in the cave
and what I would not give to know the final melody of this place.
Rich Boucher resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Rich served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee, and also as a member of the 2014 Albuquerque City Slam Team. Rich’s poems have appeared in Gargoyle, Yellow Chair Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Apeiron Review, The Mas Tequila Review, Menacing Hedge, Lotus-eater, and Cultural Weekly, among others, and he has work in the Write Bloody Publishing superhero anthology MultiVerse, which was released in the Fall of 2014.