as in the tatted walls of Canyon de Chelly

exhaling and, perhaps, inhaling


there must be some, like flutes

angling just so, that multiply the desert wind


the music Laotze said

might not seem perfect

uttering 10,000 things


just so you left one

with the void you created


vanishing slowly from the solid world

the many kind of vanishings


how I listened for your laughter

or anything particular




suddenly hearing it aloud!


I remember how the painted wall of sand made stone like flesh

was seen as if sipping into those rows of mouths


just so the portions of my own breaths

draw into the apertures


for the hearts of notes —

countless types of silence, jellyfish in sound —

extend into both listener and singer

both singer and singer


both listener and listener


what holds the flutters of particles together

but the lives of uncountable spaces

everywhere flowing through


My beloved spouse died of an accidental self-overdose of methadone, prescribed for the palliation of fibromyalgia pain, possibly because of confusion induced by other normatively prescribed opioid drugs accompanying that prescription. In these times in which opioids are rightly under scrutiny, I hope that nevertheless we all will remember that for extreme pain, sometimes such drugs enable sufferers from such maladies as fibromyalgia and other forms of “invisible injury” to continue to live mobile and productive lives — and to demand wise and humane compromises that take this factor into consideration.

Stephen Mossbarger is an Honors program BA degree alumnus of the University of Utah, 1991, major emphasis “Intellectual Traditions of the West,” minoring in English Literature, and a University employee since 1989, most recently in the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library.  His interests include amateur comparative global culture studies (emphases cosmology, ethics, psychology, and mysticism), science and technology, and the evolution and application of individual and species rights.

Rubor Participation:
2019 Poem, "Holes"
2019 Website Relaunch, programmer