Stephen Kampa

Meant, in Time, to Crack


I count the seconds, click by weighted click,
As though they were the tumblers to a safe
          I meant, in time, to crack,

Knowing that if it took a hundred years
Of nimble-fingered tuning and retuning
          And a musician’s ears

To learn the art—a lifetime spent in straining
To hear that moment when the moment catches—
          It would be worth the training

To watch the most unlikely door swing wide
As I breathe deep and reach into the darkness
          To touch what waits inside.

Stephen Kampa has two books, Cracks in the Invisible (Ohio University Press) and Bachelor Pad (Waywiser Press). He has worked as a teacher and a musician. His session work can be heard on Victor Wainwright’s latest album, Boom Town. He now works in publishing in upstate New York.