"What Light: This Week's Poem,” sponsored by Magers and Quinn Booksellers, brings you a poem every week by a Minnesota poet, selected by a panel of writers and publishers. Get the new anthology of What Light poets from Magers and Quinn!
April 15, 2007
Matt Rasmussen



Dining Room

On the blue grand piano

an incense stick leaks smoke

upward like a thin fountain

filling the ceiling’s pool.


A young woman sits

on the edge of the bed

next to a man who delicately

finishes creasing her fingers.

His patience only silenced

by hers.

Living Room

A young boy bends

the slender branches

of a tree whose leaves

are lying all over.

In spring, he will

unfurl tiny buds pinched

deep inside the paper twigs.

Dining Room

A thin ash-shadow remains

of the incense now woven

into a grey curtain of smoke.

The blue grand piano

in the corner crowding

the room, the whole house,

continually fills the air

with the song of nothingness.

The grey curtain shakes violently

as something approaches.

It is the wind.


Matt Rasmussen’s poetry has been recently published or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Passages North, Dislocate, The New York Quarterly, LIT, and Redivider. He currently lives in Hopkins, MN, is a participant in the Loft Mentor Series, and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College and Rasmussen College. His chapbook, Fingergun, is available from Kitchen Press.


This poem began with an e-mail from Chris Tonelli who viewed a Matt Johnson sculpture and sent me a web link to an image The artist is Matt Johnson. Chris said The Pianist reminded him of my poetry and that I should “check it out.” How this poem relates to Johnson’s artwork, I can’t really say. I only saw the digital image, which led me to the door of the house described above. It allowed me to look in the window before going inside.



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