John D. Fry Poems

 

 

 

homeward

after Jean Valentine

 

as if a night-throated        voice, lost in the

wilderness crying out        inside the boy I was

 

a child awakened      wind-called by name

each inner eyelid        a galaxy of sand

 

half-blinded by dust & ash

devils whirling        from the book of names

 

desert-led by Venus in Scorpio        fell conjunction named

for the hole in the heart        as the first word was spoken

 

in the beginning was

my “too-muchness”        crookedness

 

black fire        written on

my white        fired skin

 

vellum primed

for the pit

 

who taught me        Bibled from a lamb

to know        instead of not to know

 

Babel’s son        already I was double

visioned        am broken of tongue

 

*

 

right eye

wrong eye

 

each scribbling

furiously each

 

evening star

morning star

 

is there a

where on that

 

third star

third eye

 

who sees

light-years

 

redshifting

blue earth

 

other earth

will I

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

daybreak, how do you explain it

 

 

birdwings like brushstrokes.

 

under the shadow of heaven there are still times.

 

a voice said in the dream.

 

even if the dead outnumber the stars.

 

early morning sky I am almost convinced.

 

some people actually inhabit their bodies.

 

even when darkness visible & night falls so fast.

 

& the heart can be blown out.

 

is night’s wreckage dawn’s always.

 

why is always light.

 

 

 

*

 

 

torn from a book of what happened

 

—after Carolyn Forché

 

—for Mari De Fede

 

 

 

this diary opened

a form of weather

 

 

its watermarked ghost

breath, a gust in, wind

 

 

 

 

 

 

we wanted to find out what its taste was like, but below the moon cold

    as a hook of bone, Pine Road’s asphalt told us nothing.

 

 

 

as alchemists will talk to the element they use, we sought earth

    and air and water and fire, afraid the star charts asked December

    questions we could not live

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                    a hole scratched out of light

 

                                                            as if by an unseen angel’s hand—

 

 

 

 

 

(—did we shine in that dark)

 

(will we ever know if—)

 

(—in the Carolinas of the heart)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

insomnia: a porch scattered with glass, cigarettes, and candles fallen

    asleep when, stolen sacristy wine in hand, at dawn we wandered,

    prodigal pilgrims of the sun.

 

 

an early winter barefoot search without hope for

 

 

hope: how many years have I tried to nail down what happened on

    paper like a lepidopterist’s wall of butterfly thoraxes pierced by pins?

 

 

 

 

 

 

afternoon light an ache fixed in the breastbone

 

 

                                    as God, withdrawing from, opens

 

                                                            an absence for where He was

 

 

where x does not equal y

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

because any backward look  is fictive, shot through with river-bottom green.

 

                                   

                                                            (we thought we had no hands)

 

 

 

 

 

 

as a child I wondered how the dead can see when—

 

                                    wherever my great-grandmother’s soul had flown

 

—so often the living close their eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

is the character for heart literally written where light touches the face?

 

 

 

 

 

 

or was it the retreat of light—as that falling-down fence recorded

    what wind had to say—

 

 

                                    whatever, lost

 

                                                            wherever, gone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to know not only what was but the shadow of whom.

 

mist between trees like sheets hung on a line.

 

sigils seen (spelled in fire throughout the woods)

    as if through a veil.

 

our fingernails ashen crescent moons.

 

in the bain-marie of the night.

 

if flame did not, would river signify, and if not stone, would spirit.

 

this is how the past begins.

 

 

 

**

 

 

John D. Fry is the author of the chapbook silt will swirl (NewBorder Publishing). He's currently an M.F.A. candidate at Texas State University, where he is the Book Review Editor for Front Porch. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pebble Lake Review, The Dirty Napkin, The Texas Review, BorderSenses, St. Sebastian Review, and Blood Orange Review. He lives in the Texas Hill Country.

 

 

 

 

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