Poems Online and New

mercy

even the plates on that table lied,
the forks and spoons clung to each other

there were no witnesses, it was said,
all was silent
but for the lingering scent of sacrifice
in the cold-storage closet
in the corner of that room,
like the sweet and rot of autumn apples,
a young daughter given to a father

to keep food on the plates on that table, it’s been said,
the girl herself not a reasonable witness, fear locked
in her frozen expression,
but her knives were more patient,
only waiting for winter to end

___

mercy appears in the print and online editions of Vallum Magazine 162 (page 59).  Listen to the voice recording of mercy.

 

Triolet for Afghanistan

my country
is a fractured mirror
a continuous fire
a burning garden
—Asadulla Habib

At Kag Khana four boys flee
the peacemakers’ war, the Pashtun lord.
Sandflies tear their cheeks, scars seed
at Kag Khana. Four boys flee
across mountains bereft of the grace of trees
that will cast them back
to Kag Khana four shadows to be
peacemakers, lords of war?

_____

Triolet for Afghanistan appears on the Literary Review of Canada website.

 


The Field Speaks of its Persistence

 

I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
—Wallace Stevens

you drive through me your windows open radio on
the horses along the fence watch you
and the grasslands east and west

early morning light’s playing with matter

electrons bound off the metal hood of the car atoms
entangle superconduct flux the order of the day
on the ridge a poplar strips its branches down to

the velvet of antlers its trunk a pivot black hinge

black bird that swims out of itself and back in so close
to your windshield you’re forced to slow down tune-out
your radio pull-over shaking lean

on a fence post where the horses’ great heads hang deep

in thought memories of leather traces eased furrowed fields
salt-licks as a mare looks up meets your eye
it lasts just a second

that glimpse of how light slows

the mare’s memories quickening now through your brain
all of your feet heavy as stone
having passed through walls skin your elation

will turn to confusion how you’ll know when

it happens again but for now
it’s bliss all along
you’ve belonged here

across the fence the car idles
its radio kicking in
and out

___

The Field Speaks of its Persistence originally appeared in Radio, Film, and Fiction. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 225 (Summer 2015): 64-65, and subsequently on their website. The poem is now included in my book, Every Shameless Ray, (Innana Publications, 2018).