Two Poems by Rick Mullin

Vltava

I climbed down from the castle Saturday
in light November rain. I sprang for hot
Merlot and photographed a swan. OK?
Another weekend on my own. I thought
about you twice. And on the Karlův most
I stopped beneath the statue of a saint
whose misspelled name approximates our daughter’s.
Our hearts are broken. Yes, I’d love to paint
the bridge Kokoschka painted and the waters.
I might get off a pencil sketch and coast
into Bohemia. But often it occurs
to me that the experience transcends
the take-home draft. A painting would be hers.
But there will be no painting. Weather bends.
A saint is nothing but a metal ghost.

Lafitte’s from a Pencil Sketch

French Quarter, New Orleans

I placed her as a lantern in the fog
of graphite on my way to rent a car
and drive to Baton Rouge. Her little dog
pulled hard, all right, but didn’t get too far.
A thumbnail on St. Philip Street is all.
I faced her toward the river in a shirt
or mid-length camisole. That’s all I had
to work with in a minute’s time and dirt.
She gives the composition something bad
to hold against a shadow on the wall.
Old blacksmith bar, the far end of the quarter
and a sky that begs an August hurricane.
Her melody already under water,
she will be the souvenir refrain,
the shade of grace responding to a call.

About the author

Rick Mullin’s poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies, including American Arts Quarterly, The Dark Horse, The New Criterion, Rabbit Ears: TV Poems, and…

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