Fred Everett Maus – Change

Maus LE P&W 2 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Two Nov-Dec 2023.

Change, poems by Fred Everett Maus.


The air, discreet as apricots,
pitted with tipping-points—
my skin waits, breathless,
watching the sky furl.

I can name my feelings.
My phone number when I was a child,
my mother’s aluminum pots,
the crinkle of my bare feet.

“I knew it!” people will say, lying.
Weeds glaze the flagstone.
Cold hungers pushed me. Now,
mud-red clouds press toward me.

I would pay you.
I have never felt so alone.

Wild Holly

Your sounds fell into dry corners.
Then you could never surrender them.

But what if the past was a dog that you kept
stepping on? Perhaps it was
a clenched yellow scroll, fitful,

a gift that you never admitted that you
mislaid. Solemn bookshelves shadowed
your forehead, your words.

At another time, or so you
believed, a pale, sticky vibration tuned
the air. You could swallow it,
spinning softly, breathing, your eyes supple.

Dark holly grew wild there.
You are missing now. You
were behind the vines, waiting,
with the rabbits, with the

uncertain ideas that dawdled like falling odors.
You were fretful. What if the past
was something knotted, a snapdragon, an egg?
What if the distance kept turning aside?


When I’m quiet—sitting, reading, writing—
my dog is quiet too, the two of us
alone at home, the dog close,
peaceful, trusting. That is how I want
to live with you.
So many times we speak
by phone, our homes far from each other,
the frayed sound, voices confused
as we both speak at once, then both fall silent.
Once, long past midnight, you fell asleep,
still holding your phone. I listened to your
breath, as though your cherished body were near.

© Fred Everett Maus

Fred Everett Maus is a musician, writer, and teacher. They teach music classes on a range of topics, for example a recent course on “Music in Relation to Sexuality and Disability” and a recurring contemplative course “Deep Listening.” They are a trained teacher of mindfulness meditation and Deep Listening, and a student of music therapy and object relations psychoanalysis. They have published prose memoir, poetry, and fiction, for instance in Citron Review, Palette Poetry, Roanoke Review, Vox Populi, and Live Encounters. They live in a house in the woods north of Charlottesville, Virginia, and in Roma Norte, Mexico City. The Oxford Handbook of Music and Queerness, which they co-edited with the late Sheila Whiteley, was published in 2022.

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