nthposition online magazine

Aught, Album & Ann Hedonia

by Mike Barnes

[ poetry - june 05 ]

Aught

Glimpses you've caught of your own after-day
- well he offed himself, and he did it this way -
prove no help whatever in trying to grip
the fact of the one who has given the slip

and entered the world of a fresh page of snow
clean as a comma or the arch of a bow:
without breath to pause, no hide to pull taut,
mind freezes in wordless, arrowless aught.

 

Album

If I could hold a pistol point to time,
would I return you to that beach, that day?
Your neck would still be straight and well,
no sign yet of its pillared bones
compacting into numbness, sharding into pain;
your bare feet set in slewing sand,
and the glistening on your face and arms
the dew of play not therapy.
The man in shades beside you
would stay then, too - abandoning this frame
to give himself complete again
to beer and fish and chips, to driving in the car.
His share of us would be too green,
too tendrilled for the spacious barn
where columned light sifts shadows
into motes; and he would know
the darkening ripeness of our years
only as a tiller dreams a field:
unspoiled, ungatherable.

 

Ann Hedonia

Today you made a patient war
on boredom and despair -
or on something less
than these, or more:

       anhedonia
a doctor called it once,
and the way he murmured it
impatiently, as if recalling
a bit of a pest

made you see a plain-
faced, plain-named woman
standing half in shadow,
half indifferently out,

meek-chinned, with dogged eyes:
she'd wait until you guessed
what had been done to her,
or hadn't, and by whom,

and when you, awkwardly,
tried to make it right,
she'd move off slowly,
still keeping you in sight.