Apr/May 2002 Poetry

Three Poems

by john sweet


burying the sun

late september
and the cold is sudden
and each day shaped
like a fist and
every moment defined by
the disasters that have
brought us to it

do i move too fast here?

there is only
a certain amount of peace
to be found sitting alone in
an empty house all

there is only
one song to be sung
when de chirico calls with
the news that he has discovered god
and at some point
the shadows eclipse the objects
they spill from

five o'clock becomes six
and the sky begins to darken

the voices of those who
discuss beauty
begin to fade

are replaced by the sound of
a crying child
or maybe only by the silence
after a door is kicked down
four minutes too late

after a tiny body
breaks the water's surface
far beyond the sight
of land

its eyes open and staring
not at god
but to an empty sky


room filled with broken objects

a room filled
with broken objects in
a house
waiting to burn

is this what you dreamt of
as a child?

a man wearing
his funeral shoes and
an insincere smile

an empty bird cage
a sun without heat

any number of
meaningless objects that
add up to the same life
your mother lived and all the
baby does is cry

all the man does
is read the words of
dead south american poets
and pretend to

and the difference between
cold and numb
is a subtle one when
everything you hold falls
through your fingers
to the floor

and the weight of the sky
is brutal
but necessary

you have
spent your life believing
this lie without


a pale yellow sun in a plain white house

the word is
and she has been making
her blood holy

she has been eating
the poisoned heart
of her unborn child

has been spreading
her scabbed legs in the
name of religion
and will you glorify the smell
of death that clings to an
eighteen year-old junkie?

will you love her if
i call her christine or
allison or tami
or have we moved too far
from the sun?

and imagine she has

a pale yellow room
in a plain white house
somewhere in the midwest
to call her own
and yet here she is

a thin girl
just beginning to show
her pregnancy

a damaged smile filled
with too many teeth
as she walks towards you
with one dirty hand
held out

you will kiss it and
taste only pain


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