Afternoon Music ||| Helen: A Literary Magazine

At home it’s usually quiet.
You hear an occasional motor,
bird squabble at the feeder,
occasional drone of a plane.
Today in town
sound overwhelms me
with an opus of engines.

Power saws squeal a descending scale
of metal against metal,
making music with the bass notes
of diesel trucks
and their staccato beeps.
A plane flies overhead
introduces middle notes
to the soprano saw
and the diesel motor.

I sit quietly in class –
enjoy Abbie’s perfume,
top note of jasmine,
the soprano to lily at mid-range
and bass notes of amber,
all connecting with the staccatos
of her Braille machine.


Born in England, Christine Valentine settled in Birney, Montana and worked for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe for 25 yrs. She has a Human Services degree from Chief Dull Knife College. Christine writes poetry and non-fiction. She is recently published in Emerald Coast Review.

“Afternoon Music” originally appeared in Helen: A Literary Magazine, Issue 2, April 2015, and has been chosen by¬†Helen: A Literary Magazine as one of their six Pushcart Prize nominees.