Broken Hours by Peter Baltensperger

May 14, 2012 Comments Off on Broken Hours by Peter Baltensperger

Night of the new moon; the stars at their brightest in the dark sky; the constellations fixed in their rotations. There were no clouds, and no rain, the night soft, revolving. A man was composing a dirge in the darkness of his mind, phrase by careful phrase, trying to get through this fractured night. Notes were tumbling through his tortured mind, spilling out onto the keys of his piano, piling up on the paper under his frantic hand, bouncing off the cracked mirror on the wall. He couldn’t see himself in the glass, only in the notes, couldn’t hear himself in the silence.

A woman was lying on her bed, the dirge in her own mind keeping her awake, phallic representations her only companions: icicles, popsicles, melting in her heat — hard plastic comforting her body. If she could have looked for herself in notes, phrases, compositions, the night would have been enough. There was no mirror for her to see herself, only the impermanence of melting ice, a fleeting satisfaction, a reflection of futility in the disturbing rotation of the universe.

On a deserted street, a man ambling along the sidewalk lost himself in the shreds of a dirge floating briefly through the cool night air, and then found himself in the moans of a woman, dissipating in the dark. He looked into a fragmented mirror and saw the night for what it was. He piled thick paint on a canvas with a knife, a study in black, a small white circle in the upper right corner. Later in the night, he etched a zigzag of a lightning flash into the black paint in a gesture of resignation.

A woman was dangling upside down from a tree in a thick forest, surrounded by broken mirrors, trying to recognize herself, although there were too many shards of glass. The dirge could have been written for her, a suitable accompaniment to her reflection; the black paint exclusively for her; the forest deathly quiet underneath the constellations. When the stars were in their proper positions, she pulled herself up and tumbled into the thick moss, completing her cycle, her journey. If only it could have rained, a suffering of a different kind.

In the morning, the sharp sliver of the new moon.

© 2012 Peter Baltensperger

Peter Baltensperger is a Canadian writer of Swiss origin and the author of ten books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His work has appeared in print and on-line in several hundred publications around the world over the past several decades. He writes, and has been writing all this life, because he is driven to and because it lends a special significance to his quest. He makes his home in London, Canada with his wife Viki and their two cats and a tortoise.

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