Paul Tayyar

The Wound and the Lyric


We have lived in this country of a thousand feathers,

And yet we have never taken flight.


We have mourned in this river of the weeping nymphs,

And yet we have borne no children.


We have dreamed beneath these white clouds as still as sleeping stallions,

And yet we have never prayed for rain.


The sun is the fire left over from some flash of love we refused to surrender beneath—


We have tended the wildflowers of this sprawling field,

And yet our palms are not full of petals and the poems they possess.


We have circled the trunks of redwood trees,

Swung from branch to branch and yet cannot recognize the sound of our own laughter.


See the moon's retreat for what it is, then:

A reminder that home is something that must be left behind,

And that motion is marrow for the breath.

Two Days into a Road Trip, I Stop

Beside a Small Clearing that Looks onto a Lake


There must have been a wedding here yesterday,

As I watch a bridal veil drift onto the hood of my car,

And I look out at flower petals floating on the water.


There are small footprints of a barefoot child in the dirt between two large trees,

The ghost of some flower-girl too young to understand

            She was the crux of a consecration.


I do not yet know that 30 miles on I will pull off the road to look at two small crosses

            That have been planted in the dirt,

Nor that the following evening I will pick up an old farmer hitchhiking his way

            Back to his modest farm,

Tired after an afternoon spent searching for a horse that slipped from its stall

            In the night—


Instead I eat from a small carton of strawberries I purchased from a stand

            A few hours back,

Handing my money to a woman with a pendant of St. Katherine

Dangling from her tanned neck,

The gap in her front teeth as lovely as the spread wings of a bird preparing

            To take flight,


And I think about the miles that I have already come,

The secret names I have afforded the stars that never shone back home,

And the song that I heard a group of old men playing in that Mexican restaurant

            Just outside of Salinas,

Some ancient canción that made me think of stained-glass saints,

Border crossings,

Mythic fish,

Sudden eulogies,

Holy rumors,

And dream parades.

Paul Tayyar is an English Instructor at Golden West College, and he received his Ph.D. in American Literature from U.C. Riverside. His most recent book is the novel In the Footsteps of the Silver King (Spout Hill Press), and his collections of poetry include Postmark Atlantis (Level 4 Press) and Scenes From A Good Life (Tebot Bach). His literary press, World Parade Books, recently published Edward Field's Kabuli Days: Travels in Old Afghanistan and Rafael Zepeda's Desperados.



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