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April 29: The Roar the Day After by Anne Haines

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The Roar the Day After

You love the way it makes your ears feel:
the world is just a little muffled, just
a little farther away. You know it was
the lead guitar that did it, scorched
its way upside your head until this morning,
nine hours later, you still feel it
throbbing like a tooth, like a body
of water. You wear your new black
tour t-shirt like a badge, throwing peace
signs to the other black tour t-shirt
kids between classes. It was something
real, the show last night, something bigger
than you know how to name. The stage
was the center of the universe and the man
at the microphone was holding something
you wanted suddenly, wanted so hard. Not
his beautiful guitar, through you’d give any-
thing just to lay your hand against
its strings, to lift its slender neck heavenward;
not the pick he slipped into your outstretched hand
like a stealthy note, though it made you
feel like Michelangelo. You love
the residual bruises of thunderous
applause, and how bits of lyrics
come to you all day swollen with fever
and meaning. But mostly it’s the echo
in your ears, how it makes you feel—
as you stumble through the hallways, as
you drum your pencil against the metal
of your desk, as you sketch guitars in the margins
of your notebook while the teacher talks—
like you’re safe inside a private
room, one for which the admission
is the price of one more show, one more
encore, waving lighters in the air
until the whole arena spun and glittered.
It’s that light that gets inside you
now, roaring in your ears. You’d rather
buy records than beer, rather catch
a ride to a show the next town over
than take the prettiest girl to any dance.
You’d rather feel the muscle of the drums,
the roar of where you think this might
be going, the way it makes your ears
ring like a promise, like a mission, like a vow.

—Anne Haines (Monroe County)

This poem was originally published in New Madrid.  Anne Haines’ chapbook, Breach, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2008. Individual poems have appeared in diode, Field, Hamilton Stone Review, New Madrid, Rattle, the anthology And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana, and elsewhere. She has been the recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission and of the Agha Shahid Ali Scholarship in Poetry from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Currently she lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where she works as the Website Editor in the Indiana University Libraries.

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