Poetry / May 2008 (Issue 3)

There is, in it

by Todd Swift

There is, in it, something of the autumn,
Something of a lake bottom; a favour being
Returned, unopened.  A letter burnt.

A lesson unlearned.  A muffled oar, risking
Silence for lifting through water.  Numb
Fingers reconnecting knots.  Women laying out

Fuel for themselves in a damp, starlit lot.
But what is mostly in it is what is not.
Stars as they turn into their unbright coldness,

Daughters as they slide still onto the ground;
Each unborn animal, each unstruck match,
Each ambush left before the riders enter

The narrow pass.  The snake that forgot
To spend its tension spilling in tall grass.
Windows no stone decided needed breaking.

The high bedroom emptied of mourners, the king
Lifted out, recovered, only to slip and fall
Next morning, and so resume a smallness

On his own.  The cold floors of parliaments
After the last to cross has gone and locked a door.
The pocket watch she found, and wound

So that it said it was eleven all day round.
Its chain was golden, and it contrived a line:
Royalty to the sun to a lion to an eagle,

And this spirit alchemy was spun
Across the rich lawn, gathering dew,
So that, on being brushed aside, it was rain.

A brain pivots on what is beyond it
Like lies hide around the corner from
Coming true. In there is some thing of you.

Editors' note: A Review of Todd Swift's Seaway: New and Selected Poems is available in issue #8 of Cha. 

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All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.