Midnight at the Keyboard – Cat Dixon

“Tonight I can write the saddest lines”   after Neruda

Write for example, ‘The stars ache to burn this planet,
scorch our flesh; a universal holocaust.’

The winking cursor another star with desire to destroy.

Exaggeration breeds self-pity. This face I must wear,
pock-marked and discolored, masks my words.

These words I type—meaningless symbols—
what does it matter what I write?

Write for example, ‘The clouds hide the moon
and stars to protect humanity from their glare

as the red wine clouds my memory
and allows me to lie down.’

The mirror above my bed reflects the light
from the neighbor’s patio—a star hovers

in its frame and no curtain can darken my room.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Inebriated, I shatter the glass. The shards
display a solar system across the floor.

Instead of sweeping them up, I turn
to the keyboard to record the image,

to send the words to him. Then, I must
hit pause, hit mute. He doesn’t wish to hear from me.

These messages passed through keys, wires,
servers, and patient clouds are all futile.

What does it matter that he never loved me?

Cat DixonCat Dixon is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014). She teaches creative writing at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Her poetry and reviews have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Sugar House Review, Midwest Quarterly Review, The Black Napkin, Coe Review, Eclectica, The Lake and Mid-American Review.