“Recess” and “Dispensation” * Poetry * John Muro


Morning at last giving way to mid-
day hours when we descended onto
the schoolyard like a squabble of
greedy gulls in worn white shirts,
clip-on ties and plaid suspenders.
Solemn decorum of early morning
mass, with its luminous vernal pools
of stained glass, pasty amulets and
cleaving scents, now set by, we
worshipped, above all else, speed
and the ability to elude capture,
covering the tideless expanse of
asphalt as if they were on a slip-
stream to salvation or marveled
at older classmates who’d spread
their easy fictions of defiance
beneath the rusted awning of a
metal fire escape and tall, sun-
chafed windows, though we all
made do with little, seeking to
out-run so much more than
banishment or a clumsy class-
mate until the hand-bell was
raised and shaken mid-air
like a loud sun and then we
trudged in glum procession
through the weathered doors
and up the lampless stairwell
to our desks that waited
for us like leg traps, some
of us having had our ears
or collars pulled on account
of our unkempt shirts, a
blood stain or the young
lives we had left untucked.



Day’s fourth hour and morning’s
light is cast across the sky in
evanescent scatter while hidden,
wingless birds, in full philharmonic,
seem intent on waking a world
that will remain tucked away in
dream for a few hours yet, and
the maiden air’s infused with
the intoxicating scent of honey-
suckle and pine leading me to
wonder how this moment can
possibly be anything other than
a miracle to savor while heaven
gives up pieces of itself and tries,
without touch, to lift our hearts,
bestowing hope and promise,
and offering to transform our
anguish into these small astonishments
even as a half-moon finds itself
lodged against the far horizon
like a nicked canteen emptying
the last of its holy shine into the sea.


—About the Author—

A resident of Connecticut and a lover of all things chocolate, John Muro is a two-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and, more recently, the Best of the Net Award.  He has authored two books of poems — In the Lilac Hour & Pastoral Suite — in 2020 and 2022, respectively. Both volumes were published by Antrim House, and both are available on Amazon and elsewhere. John’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Acumen, Aromatica Poetica, Barnstorm, Delmarva, New Square, Sky Island, and the Valparaiso Review. Instagram: @johntmuro.

Read more of John’s scented poems HERE!