A Hymn To The Evening

by Carla M. Cherry

After Phyllis Wheatley’s Hymn to the Evening


I love the stillness in the mornings,
caress of newly clean air,
but this daylong silence makes this Bronx girl miss
rap/reggae/bachata bass of passing cars
and the shudder of my bedroom window.

I stare at the steely sky,
wonder if my neighbors are tired of our daily salute.
Dwindling whistles,
fewer arms sticking out of windows
smacking spoons against pots.

I stroke the bottom of my metal mixing bowl
and the hundred tiny cuts etched in it
from three months of me and this old knife.

I like keeping things shiny and smooth
but these marks
in the bottom of my mixing bowl
remind me of grooves
Daddy’s record player
pulling dust off the needle
to keep the records from skipping
Daddy head-bopping to
“The World Is a Ghetto”,
stiff poppin’ and lockin’ to
“The RubberBand Man” to make us laugh,
me asking myself where heaven was if it wasn’t in the sky
and what made Ashford and Simpson
ooh, oh like that at the end of “Somebody Told A Lie”
Aretha wailing “Mary Don’t You Weep”
while Daddy made pancakes.


and the man several floors below
who cups his hands around his mouth
to make his woof woof bounce off our buildings.

I run to my kitchen window
push it all the way up
slip my arms
mixing bowl
through my window guards,
get to banging,
help my neighbors
make this music.

Carla M. Cherry has been teaching since 1996. Her work has appeared in publications such as Anderbo, Eunoia Review, Random Sample Review, MemoryHouse, Bop Dead City, Anti-Heroin Chic, 433, The Racket and Raising Mothers. She has written five books of poetry and is an M.F.A. candidate in Creative Writing at the City College of New York. Surekha spent her formative years in the beautiful hills of Nilgiris before she moved to her hometown, Thalassery, to pursue a career in fine art. Her works have been in many exhibitions across India, and most recently to “Revived Emotions,” an international exhibition at Ratchademnoen Contemporary Art Centre, Bangkok. She served as the head designer for a leading Kerala based jewelery chain for 17 years, leaving behind an oeuvre of more than 3000 designs. Painting has always been her first love, exploring the moods of nature, and finding shades, colours, tones and textures in landscapes, especially focusing on her memories of Thalassery and Nilgiris.   

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