Poetry » Daniel Fitzpatrick »


Sun Dial

No doubt the dog, the big border collie
with the grey-black coat and the brown patch
at the bottom of his tail,
will rush to the endless gesture
of the water’s edge, sock paws
seeming just to catch
before the black legs bury themselves
in tan sand flecked with oyster shells.

No doubt he will snap,
just as they start to stumble,
at the brown crests of milky foam,
maddened at their plastic impassivity.

No doubt I will laugh with them
to cover my discomfort at his oddity
and shout when he strays
toward the wide-mouthed hardhead cat
drying on the damp sand, its blue-grey back
sticky with Sun marking the hour
in the minuscule shadow
of the venomed spine stiff with death.

When You Died

When you died
your mother lay before the blank TV
and where a womb had been
reverberated her virginity.

We did this three days
all the same
because you had died
and the clock refused to tock.

This is to say
that yours was not the death
that leers once more around the room and disappears
so that the world is left shaking its head
muttering never mind.

For we cannot forget
that final four o’clock you spent
suspended in your purple gown
between the grand piano and the stairs,
the way your comatose mouth turned down
as though you’d made your bed at last
about your soul,
as water on a windless day,
your being blending into end
while we are left endless,
trout drawn gasping onto sand,
scales sticking on skin
and tails waving absent and refractory in the stream.

You are glad to have left us in awe,
and though the current eased our breathing,
we are still, sometimes,
alone and transfigured.

The Crooked Christ

And then down to the Seine,
he, lesser, reading genius in the girding dark,
to throw the books away.

Anima Graecia drew too readily through eyes,
their colors cut away to ease the Livian flood.
The belly begged jealous bibations,
carved caverns in the jaws
gaping fearfully to be machined.

The darkening doors that swung
on wonders in the smallest signs
turned terrified before the big,
as when the wolfhound shook his skin-sharp shoulders
or lightning leered him quivering below the bed.

At last he dammed the cumulate stream,
denied the illness rising written in his children,
trod roads thick with envy’s thistles
rooted in the weaving branches of the Beach.

They both, some twenty-seven centuries separate,
sang winged beauties on the sand
and piety’s desire guttering toward Elysium.