John Swain, 7/12

Birch Fire
Terrible the red
closing of birch
all around
deer paths sunk
and crossed
into nothing.
I lit the skin
with brightening
noon sun
like a third day
of mercies
on the land.
I prayed
awake in sleep
for the return
of the person
like a bright bird
inside the skull.
An imperiled cry
arose from the salt
as the trees grew
into lapis.
Dune Lavender Clematis
Sunset on dune lavender clematis
though oats stayed gold for the crow
and the people refusing to speak
upon greeting,
I hated their faces in my weakness.
Water dripping
from the balcony stained the page
torn from an antique history book
I found earlier on the sand.
I traced the image of the terebinth
on my palms pressing the weather
for a hidden burial.
Dark ink blurred like another night
when I went outside
to the eyeless sea reading psalters,
I archived the bruit of the shallow.
 
John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Full of Crow published his chapbooks, Burnt Palmistry and The Feathered Masks.
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