Wives of Nightfall

We are the
Wives of nightfall
Maidens of the dark

Our lips smooth as oil
Feather-soft voices
Speaking words of lust
Robed in garments of

Our prey who return
Night upon night
Seem somehow less human
Their bodies shrinking
Their eyes unseeing
Clouded by storms of

Some seek us as targets
For regret, failure, loneliness
And their hands become fists
Maces that free them briefly
From their desperate, empty

Our words are recordings
That mean nothing
We control volume and tone

No one knows us
All is hidden behind
Sequins and pearls
The lace and showcase

Then came a Man who knew me
Though I had never seen him
And in him was no darkness
“Follow me,” softly he said
And I did

And came to know him and the
Burning darkness that had
Engulfed me for so long
Fled from the presence of
His Shining

Summer’s End

The paths through the schoolyard
Healed over the summer months
When the doors closed in May
The spring rains brought forth
A startling emerald color
And the hard-packed dirt paths
That the feet of students cut
Into the carpet-like turf
Slowly closed

All summer long the childless yard
Seemed desolate, abandoned by
Its guileless young inmates
The now sedentary equipment
Abandoned by its riders, sliders
And swingers appeared lonely
The swings hanging motionless
In the sweltering, breathless heat
Seesaws pointing toward the sky

All this transformed in September
By seven o’clock the sere blades
Of grass were crushed by the
Screaming hordes destined for
The elementary school. Silent chains
Began clacking loudly and seesaws
Pounded the dirt, sending up puffs
Of dust like earthbound clouds

This bedlam took place around a
One-story building set off by a
Chain-link fence from the
Three-story red brick structure
That housed the junior high and
High school

The woven metal barrier served
As a sort of social escarpment
For the young people of the town
A demarcation line stronger than
The steel itself

Those on one side were children
But that silent crossing to the
Formerly forbidden ground
Became a rite of passage marking
That first step into the wondrous
Frightening, mysterious world of

(Fistfights, flat tires, frozen plumbing
Endless taxes, dirty diapers, sadistic
Bosses, loving or caustic wives, and
The best of us, children, whose smiles
And cuddly hugs…) adults.

 Above the Fold
Among the debris were scattered
photographs of smiling people.

Among the debris were scattered
photographs of smiling people.

“The gold or the girls
Get you anything you want,”
You were fond of saying
Over 12-year old bourbon
When the deal went down.
A maxim that served you well
As did those who showered you
With praise and ticker tape smiles.
The elected and elite
Listened when you spoke

But the bright morning
Had no ambition
No amorous intent
No desire but joining
With sun and sky
And would not lift you
In its ethereal arms
As your life sped by
To the scream of engines
Into tomorrow and home where
Photographs of debris were scattered
Among the smiling people.

Under the Sun

And who we are
and what we were
is lost and never found

The laughing mask
facade of mirth
remains above the ground

‘twas better than a frown

Robert Funderburk: Born by coal oil lamplight in our home near Liberty, MS, graduated from LSU in 1965, served as SSgt in USAFR from 1965-1971. Writing experience includes seventeen published novels, one national bestseller, over 60 poems accepted by various literary journals; two short stories and one chapbook… and now living with my wife, Barbara, enjoying the peace of our country home on fifty acres of wilderness in Olive Branch, LA.