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The Writer and His Muse

Updated on May 27, 2013
Erato, Muse of love poetry
Erato, Muse of love poetry

While she lounged on the couch counting coupons, he finished the last couplet of a sonnet.

“There," he said. "Finally." He smiled. "I'll have you know that I have just finished—”

“What?” she interrupted.

"I've been writing this sonnet, and the third quatrain was destroying me for the last two days," he said.

She blinked. She waved the scissors in the air for good measure.

"And today," he continued, undaunted, "the heroic couplet was giving me--"

"Uh huh." She continued to snip, paper fluttering into the air.

"I was just saying that--"

"What?" Her eyes narrowed.

“Nothing,” he said. "Nothing at all."

He looked out the picture window and surveyed the bed of flowers he had planted to supply her with living bouquets. Night shrouded the zinnia, larkspur, candytuft, and balsam.

“All the shadows outside are whispering of the sun,” he said. "Isn't that awesome?"

“You must be drunk,” she said.

He watched the sun sink and saw stars shivering on the horizon.

Detail of THE STARRY NIGHT by Van Gogh
Detail of THE STARRY NIGHT by Van Gogh

“All those stars and suns up there,” he said, “and yet space is so cold. You would think outer space would be warmer with all that heat."

“Whatever,” she said.

A storm prowled over the mountains. The thunder rumbled, its echo mocking and distant.

“Have you ever listened to the echo of your own voice?” he asked.

She made no reply.

“I said, have you ever—”

“I heard you,” she interrupted.

“Well?” he asked.

She put down her scissors. “Why should I answer you when you’re obviously talking to yourself?”

Lightning flashed. Rain licked the window then lashed out, torrents streaming down the windowpane, the glass rattling, the wild flowers waving.

“I see the darkness echoing,” he whispered. He cleared his throat. "I said, I see the darkness echoing."

She sighed and shook her head. “Have you ever really listened to yourself?”

“That’s why I have you, right?” he asked, smiling.

She returned to her coupons, the slicing of scissors the only sound.

“Right?” he asked again, his smile fading. "Am I right?"

He, the dog of his house, ran howling to write another poem.

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