Between the shuffle and the deal
The Mrs. and the Miss
Between the bottle and the glass
The flirting and the kiss.
Between the needle and the record
The look and the leap
Between the arrow and the bull’s-eye
The castle and the keep.
Between the rabbit and the hat
The first impression and the last
Between the insult and the hurt
The lit fuse and the blast.
Between the door and the knock
The cover-up and the scandal
Between the 8-ball and the pocket
The bell, book and the candle.
Between the fist and the open hand
The silence and the speech
Between the gasp and the shout
The grasp and the reach.
Between the horses and the finish line
The fast part & the slow bit
Between the long way and the shortcut
The birth date and the obit.
*The title comes from a line in Louis MacNeice’s “April Fool” that appeared in Visitations in 1957.
Tony Peyser was a semifinalist for the Wabash Prize in 2008. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pearl, the longtime Southern California literary magazine, and Sycamore Review, as well as in the anthology The Poet’s Quest for God. Mr. Peyser (who as a rule refrains from referring to himself as “Mr. Peyser”) lives in Altadena, California with his wife and son.