Kate Partridge


After ordering wheels and a wrought iron
cylinder bored to his specifications,
     my second cousin assembles cannons inside
     his barn, near a stockpile of gunpowder
that would be illegal if he were
not also the fire chief. He explains
     how the bore rings the cannonball
     and then—well, a demonstration.
     Outdoors, he aims the round across
     a rocky incline, away from
the tree line, gestures for us to
cover our ears. He lights the fuse, and
     then the explosion erupts into a
     singing echo before the notes all come
to a rest. On its own, an oboe reed crows
a C. Which is more natural: music or this?


Artwork on this page:
Detail of Heat of the day, cool of the night
65 x 26.5" oil on wooden door, 2005
Irene Hardwicke Olivieri

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