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Poem

Stay, illusion! —HORATIO

You, shadow I could name after nothing,

silent inside some circuitry’s breathing,

you don’t see me, but I’m what seems to be

biting my way through April’s clamped blossoms,

a busted alarm for lack of vespers,

better things to do for lack of a cause.

I yield back the balance of my safety,

gladly, unless it’s all gone, in which case

I yield back my monopoly on me.

Splintered water—not ice, but fractured drops

if that’s possible, which it seems to be—

there’s that word again, “seems”: I don’t know it

or know it only in my ignorance,

so where was I? Of course: splintered water—

not ice, but fractured drops—each could in time

become a lens through which you might catch me,

though they can’t yet be fashioned for such use,

however pictured they may come to be

or not be in the blindness between us.

Through one or many more faults of my own,

notions to which I might’ve clung collapse

and I would call that the end of the sound

of thoughts arriving from another mind

only to return to their own nowhere

as strained and as disabled as they came.

There comes a time when one is far too young

to be answerable to anyone,

but this can’t be the case for very long.

About the rain, I was given the wrong

information, but not about the song

about the rally to a yearly low

that would erase us back to nature.

Much later, comma, illusory stone,

rooms of it, some feeling in its debris

wished out, and yet this isn’t how it sounds:

another branch from which to pull lemons,

another reason not to chrome the moon.

I live with you barely in front of me,

and patience is another kind of time,

but if for better or less than okay

today won’t outlive itself by a day,

don’t cry—besides, tatters can be pretty,

and in the near midst of its losing me

my mind wants memory, not history,

history having been drained of excess

or maybe filled with excess’s opposite:

you, shadow, outgoingly unholy,

whom I now name after nothing but this.

from Time Down to MindFind more by Graham Foust at the library

Copyright © Graham Foust
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Published in Graham Foust Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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