Daniel Bourne




Dead Weight


Think of the dead weight of air, the low slant of sun
that slices through the window, your father out on
his rounds, and you at the kitchen table, writing
your poem.  Each step he takes up in the loft might be
his last, and you are writing your poem. Your stomach
sick with the yellow glare, the flies crawling the screen
as the green hay builds up its anger, the seething
that turns into fire, a cave hollowed out not by
water but smolder.  It is this way that your world
will burn its own nest.  Your father takes one more step
and breaks through the surface.  And you would carry him
out if you could.  O stupid son!  Draw back your chair.


North of Niagara, Bruce Peninsula, I Think of Dead Actors

Zoo-Zee Zoo-Zee Zoo-Zee, feathered Cary Grant, black
throated green warbler not quite getting the pitch, pine-
jumping along the escarpment; C-130
troop plane hard on the throttle, on practice patrol
over Whipperwill Bay or could it be a real
Mayday call, a crew on Georgian Bay poised to be
the next ghosts shipped to the deep of the lake, ancient
falls drowned at the end of the last Ice Age, brooding
to this day of their own demise, white dolomite
and plush guzzle as the engine labors so hard
to keep itself aloft, the call of songbirds drowned
out while back at our farmhouse in Ohio these

same gray planes ungainly as school buses banked just
above our chimney, the squeal and roar of training
after September 11th, guardsmen from Kent,
Macedonia or Mansfield hurtled into
the cobbled web of this war. So how can there be
un-self-conscious metaphors here? The cliff face mere
inches from our feet, our necks crane to get a look
at these two rock climbers that scramble to the east,
their spiderly ambition so frail against stone,
my mind’s dour web filmed in black and white, last night’s dream
of my son’s smile as he leaped off the balcony.
Like Fred Astaire—though I know I tell it badly.  




Daniel Bourne’s books include The Household Gods (Cleveland State) and Where No One Spoke the Language (CustomWords). His poems are forthcoming in Salmagundi, Yale Review, Lake Effect, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, and have also appeared in such journals as Field, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Conduit, Boulevard, Guernica, Pleiades, Shenandoah, New Letters, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, Plume, Many Mountains Moving, and North American Review. The recipient of four Ohio Arts Council poetry fellowships, he teaches in the English Department and Environmental Studies program at The College of Wooster in NE Ohio, where he edits Artful Dodge, a magazine of American fiction, poetry and essay with a special interest in translation, and for which he has interviewed such writers as Jorge Luis Borges, Tim O’Brien, Czesław Miłosz, James Laughlin, Rita Dove, and Terry Tempest Williams.








                                    

 

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