Syracuse, NY 13210
Volume 12, 2012
Katharyn Howd Machan
It’s a word he likes to use in poems.
Muscled. Hairy. Ribcage prominent and smooth
down taut sides to skinny hips
naked without tight-stitched blue jeans
to cover up, protect. His black-shadowed book
shows a thorax splitting open, exploding
paper scraps and shards of what
his readers reach for, needing good
loud darkness in cool light. James:
a man who’s sifted city grit
and bled wine through wide pores.
Survived. Become full son, strong father
clasping a new baby girl
to what he writes of best.
Late Spring Morning
And if she hadn’t worn those cork-heeled shoes.
And if she hadn’t told her daughter twice,
“A rainbow! Get the camera or we’ll lose
the chance to share it with your dad!” Advice
comes hard to those just turned sixteen, who hear
what they will hear; the girl ignored her. So
she rushed from window to a table near
the door, annoyed, complaining, “All I know
is if I want it done I have to do
it all myself,” and grabbed the camera from
a drawer and turned it on and hurried to
the back porch . . . Breath a gasp? Left arm gone numb?
Wet wood, smeared leaves, a buckle not on tight.
In simple words, death’s such a common sight.
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