“Farewell Party” by Leo Miller

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Her arm arcs above her head, fingertips

following the gentle curve of waning crescent

until the moon hangs from her little finger

on a chain of silver.

It whispers in her ear, soft and low,

voice like the drowsy hum of a dying lantern

or the meandering flutter of a mayfly’s wings

or the hush of wind through dry autumn grass

or light rain as twilight fades.

Her hand dips and the glow is blotted out

like spilled ink on yellow parchment,

flickering into the dull reflections

of candlelight on a half-dozen glass bottles

discarded in the dust,

fingers that held them plucking

the final melancholy bars of song on distant instruments

while the sigh of a lone flute fades away

into the dancing shadow.

Her hand falls and rests against her side;

crickets sing like midnight sailors,

and perhaps she’ll dream of ships

as the last guest falls silent –

a frigate carries her across the sea,

gray waters churned into foam by howling storms,

fingers of coral-bone scrawling messages

from drifting friends into the wooden hull –

tomorrow she’ll hold the moon again,

while whalesong echoes from the depths of strange, dark,

unknown waters

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