ę John Sweet Ľ


In the season of airplanes, in the age
of blackened miracles, says Lift those
heavy islands. Says Dream the wounds
all healed. A simple enough gesture,
but if the dogs are still hungry. If the
lovers are found by a husband or a
daughter. If, which means yes. Yes,
which means now, here in this
windowless room, on your knees, on
my back, daylight through an open
doorway like music. Like prayer. A
gift that I give you freely. My love,
which tastes like your sighs. Which
feels like the heat between your legs.
This moment never ending

The Difference

if her fingers are cut off
one by one
to the music of laughter

if her laughter is a sound
i would
describe as godís anger

is a prayer i would hold
in my broken teeth
and when i get up to leave
she pulls the sheet over
her breasts and says
donít move

says donít breathe

donít spoil the moment
and sometimes this is fine

i canít be too sure

it is only a
small ocean between us

In This Field of Broken Glass Where the Horses Are Being Starved

these houses in this white haze of september
with their shadows spilling out
towards the edge of town

with their ghosts exiled to fields of ruin their
windows broken their sounds the sounds
of misplaced childhoods

the boy left to die in the side yard
the mother drowning the
dreaming and all of us guilty

you saw the bruises

you heard the screams

walked to the store while the factories burned
and the river ran red with blood or you
sat in the darkness behind the gas station with
the smell of garbage pressed tight against
every window and your mouth thick with the
taste of someone else's wife

you were the town and the town was fading

i was my father without explanation

his hands and his fear and his
endless self-hatred

his infinite self-pity

and i argued politics with the deaf and i
explained picasso to the blind and
we ended up alone in windowless rooms

we were sold as slaves or we
bought the flesh of others

called it love and the clocks ran backwards
and i sat at my desk considering suicide

i sat in my car with my eyes closed

with the days growing shorter and all of
these streets as empty and ugly
as i remembered them
and none of them going anywhere

none of us loved

nothing to do but
turn away from ourselves and drive

John Sweet, b. 1968, single father of 2. Overeducated, underpaid, a believer in writing as catharsis and in the ultimate futility of poetry, politics and religion. Recent collections include the chapbook FAMINE (www.leafpress.ca) and the full length HUMAN CATHEDRALS (www.ravennapress.com). He will gladly point the finger, but refuses to accept the blame.

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