Three Poems By Kathy Fagan

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

Sycamores at High Noon

Chalk on the blackboard
dry, I’m chalk on the street. I’m I I I.
I am your outline, your line out,
your line-up, your lesson,
Kilimanjaros infinitum,
choirs of white-washed
roller coasters past.
Gully, you know me:
the silver-linings, apostolic, lab-coated
host of me. Advancing like a wood,
more ghostly than Banquo,
I cast no shadow.
And vertically I barely creak
in wind that raised and hung me
out to dry, broken in several places,
breaking all the day I need.

November Sycamores: A Choral Valediction

“the heart still beating/ Under the bark…”
 — Ovid

The day-moon halved and see-through in the sky
Might make it hard enough for you to mind
Your feet.
But then there’s us, our bones on blue,
Our panicked manes, snow flurries fixed or lightning’s
Ragged wedding swatches hung.
You know
The bow that frosts the cello’s strings? We’re after
That. That blizzard in the brain, electric
Synapses alight and cracking knuckles
In the belljar.
The side the sun finds finds
Us flare. The side sun can’t, a timber-rotted
Mud, the negative of us, our postures
No less carved by wind for that, our scribbled
Tips aloft, air trash in the subway, frenzy
Of Daphne’s upraised hands and hair.
Like her
We are beheld unheld; we will not leave
The earth alive.
Nor will you, in your scuffed shoes — 
Our hollows, too, large enough to hide the horses in.

Sycamore in the Weak Light of Early Spring

Pettable as brushed
nickel or skim
milk, newly
sprouted silver
pubes and snowdrops
suddenly dotting
the duff, the weak
light of early spring
blows forth a self-
portrait with no self
in it. Freshets
rush under
curbside ice crusts — 
everything runs down
the gutter lanes.
The old pelt,
bleached with lice
and weather, goes
too — only the finite
today springing forward.

Kathy Fagan is the author of four books of poems, most recently Lip.

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