The word, regardless of its etymology

sounds poetic, as if rooted

in the idea of the muse

bringing the incantations of the soul

to light and art to the page.


In fact, it means “servant from the hand.”

The vehicle of inspiration

turns out to be more clerical Cinderella

than beguiling goddess,

good at hand jobs

and stroking egos; any additional

finesse gratuitous or lost

on a prick.


She plays the supporting role

so well. She plays along.


But what if the muse is tired

of inspiring, inspired to retire

to inspirations of her own?


What if she starts singing

of her own accord, strikes

a new chord, or even



(Two tubas crossed my path today

like clumsy harbingers of an

obscure conclusion. The thing

is this: we decipher a universe

arbitrary but to ourselves.)


I read Anne Sexton and remembered

what it is to be one’s own

instrument. A restless

tune stirred in me

and sought the air.


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