Charles Farrell   © 2010 All Rights Reserved

My Ill-lit Something

All the voices that unchain our fingers from the hurt—

something tells me faith will play a part,
                                                       the part of grammarian, the negligent father-figure,
or I’ll scare easily and forget the canoe, the rockened bottom
of the lake, and instead push off shore,

                                                       float on my belly
under the sun, the intensity of light and greed,

the absence of swimming. There’s always a poem
in my lake,
                       a swimmer in my ill-lit something.


And She’s Fallen

Eight months: stumbling, earlying.
            I’m fixing the doorknob:

too many hinges unhinged, not enough
light to help me see.

                         I know she’s bathing:

the water running, the fan on high, heat
coming under the door.

And she’s fallen.

Out the window: hot-air balloons
and dust from the neighborhood diamond:

fuel me, my shoulders, help lift her.

                                  The weight, a river’s weight:

prey to running, scorned through the night
until her knees unlock, her thighs

unrain. The child is beating, his heart


Gary L. McDowell
Copyright © 2010  

Gary L. McDowell's first book, American Amen, won the 2009 Orphic Prize and is forthcoming later in 2010 from Dream Horse Press. He is also the author of two chapbooks and co-editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice (Rose Metal Press, 2010).

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