History Lesson by Susan Muse

Photo of bell in hole in wall
Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash

 

Clouds flatten against a gray sky

and cover what had once been the color

of bluebonnets only a moment ago.

Suddenly rain begins washing the windshield

as we turn and head for Houston.

Earlier, in San Antonio

the sun squatted down to squeeze

the breath from my chest,

like smoking my first Luck Strike at 10.

We had hidden from it in the quiet cool

of the mission and ran our hands over

rough rock, cracked like old bones

or parched earth.

its Spanish tiles were the color of canyons

and hills that round and mound

against a western sky.

I could almost hear the soft rustle of burlap,

the padre entering for evening prayer.

His muffled words must have comforted,

a murmur out of the old stone wall

where a pebble had dropped from my fingers

and landed far below in dark water,

forgotten.


Susan Muse
Susan Muse has published in various literary magazines and anthologies, including Cold Mountain Review, The Miscellany, Pegasus, New Poets Review, Signet, Cairn Press, Images, The Writer’s Eye, and Poetry in Motion. Besides winning the Signet Poetry Award at Queens College, she was selected for Who’s Who in Poetry in American Colleges and Universities and inducted into Sigma Upsilon, an honorary fraternity for writers.

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