A film of mist clung to the storm window He went behind it to make his last stand The lightning tucked behind cypress trees
He remembers the bodies, he saw them leap Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space From the windows, he heard the shots
The judges won’t revoke their sentence For anyone condemned to death, For anyone condemned to life
The longer he stands at the edge On the horizon now a kind of golden gate of sunset All phantom and shadow, so silent
[Contains lines and fragments from: Wayne Miller, Robert Frost line, Victoria Chang, Martha Collins, Walt Whitman, Martha Collins, Weldon Kees, Jaime Sabines, Louise Gluck, Kathy Fagan, Tracy K. Smith.]
No More: a Cento
There is a halo of cold around you, The sky above you darkens with rain. It breaks the surface, because these are not the nights of dreams galloping.
I jerk across time’s dark ocean of heat The flames of discipline knife-scrawled across my back in sore, jagged letters, like gasoline fire over blue tar.
You knew the odds on failure from the start, lucid, inescapable rhythms flying in a green light, distant from the darkened glade.
Suddenly nobody knows where you are, worn down by the endless internal battering with the shape of my silence to say I have done what you wanted to do.
You say I’m a naysayer for refusing your form of sorcery. Let’s be honest. I’ve really had enough this time.
[Contains lines and fragments from: Tess Gallagher, Traci Brimhall and Brynn Saito, Al Zolynas, Suki Kwock Kim, Tyehimba Jess, Li-Young Lee, Patricia Smith, Katha Pollit, Wallace Stevens, Kyle McCord and Jeannie Hoag, Sharon Olds, Charlie Smith, Bob Hicok, Sharon Olds, Simone Muench & Philip Jenks, Dana Gioia, Susan Browne.]