The way, as I wake, some shimmery dream
rushes toward the sun’s obliterating flame,
the day, too—this lit second,
and this, the crux of it, a wild weeping
at its heart—feels gone already
as I enter it. Blind ancient broom maker
stooped near the church door, hawking
your wares—wood rubbed smooth, straw
twined tight by stiff fingers: I stride by
in silence. Forgive me.
Because you cannot see
my face, I pass you by and say nothing.
Opulent, Unfunereal World
I will not give in to your gospel of moonlight.
I will not lose myself to your poplar, its spills
of blossom and birdsong, shadow in the grass
like a dress it’s stepped out of.
With your wind routes, your white wolves’
tracks through snow, going nowhere, anywhere . . .
and your rain, voluble gossip coming down
hard and thoughtless—what can you say
of love gone stupid, of a heart repelled,
made crooked like a nail?
Ripple of pondwater, ferry my fear away.
Breeze-bent wheat fields, finish this song.
In the family photo, maple, replace me.
Opulent, unfunereal world, what I know of you
is eyelash-slight. What you know of me
you will never tell.
Chris Forhan’s new book is a memoir, My Father Before Me. He has also published three collections of poetry: Black Leapt In, winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize; The Actual Moon, The Actual Stars, winner of the Morse Prize and the Washington State Book Award; and Forgive Us Our Happiness, winner of the Bakeless Prize. He has won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes. He lives in Indianapolis, where he teaches at Butler University. For more: www.chrisforhan.com.