Fred Marchant

safe / harbor / rehab
August 23, 2020 Marchant Fred


you said your eyes
said will I be will I ever be
all right again your eyes said
you answered I will never be
all right

again maybe but will
you tell me if that is what your
eyes meant when you said the
words run across in reverse on
the page

no one could ever
read not like that not your eyes
anyway but didn’t they say didn’t
the ones who know how eyes
sometimes see

say that maybe one
word one day a day like today
at a time like this when just one
of them grows weary and quits
rushing the

wrong way and maybe
heads back against the one-way
flow and slows way down like
the day the moon tide comes
in in

such a way you hardly
notice that it has turned around
and come back on the lapping
waves that sound like they might
be happy

to reach the sand
touch its face while they make
the sound that gives you back
the word trailing a long green




Fred Marchant’s most recent collection of poetry, Said Not Said, was published by Graywolf Press in 2017, and awarded “Honored Book” status by the Massachusetts Book Awards for that year. Marchant’s first book, Tipping Point, won the 1993 Washington Prize, and was reissued in a 20th anniversary second edition. His other books include Full Moon Boat (Graywolf, 2000). and House on Water, House in Air (Dedalus Press, Dublin, Ireland, 2002) and The Looking House (Graywolf, 2009). He is also a co-translator (with Nguyen Ba Chung) of collections by several contemporary Vietnamese poets, including work by Tran Dang Khoa, Vo Que, and Le Chi. An emeritus professor of English at Suffolk University in Boston, Marchant is also the editor of Another World Instead: The Early Poems of William Stafford, 1937-1947 (Graywolf, 2008).