F. Daniel Rziczneck
August, Last of
The heat freaks out a little—
The psychic reeds limping in place
It will not be the last time
I am watching crows above this city
Watching for potential delegates
The dog in the catalog makes me laugh
A smile floating the channels, leaving early
The dog in the road makes me cry
Water the herbs, water the bonsai
Rain this dense turns my mouth around
No standards for happiness,
the saint of mechanical gardens—
(I am still very close to
a coincidentally painful innocence:
I eat like a man locked away,
brutalized and then asked to fight.)
He listens for the float and bump
of his designs even in sleep.
Arrows drag blood into the air.
Where does the overheard end up?
Why do people demand reasons
for happiness? (Or, why can it
not just happen?) I can hardly know
myself without loathing myself:
suspicious flowers of the veldt,
silent roots, noiseless gears at work.
(I meant to say loving myself.)
The Light at Willow Point
stayed at home today.
His daily bread is lambmeal
his skull the land’s last meal. Like mine.
I intended for this all
to be positive,
a chance among the lilacs
to glimpse nature slicing forward
with a random truce,
its infinite limbs
extended, the air ghost-thick
time has winnowed into species.
Each breath counts:
you-know-who slapping his tail
in sleep, miles away—
the heron’s turning—
the clumsy stoop of a harrier into cattails.
This marsh polishes memory
like any other,
our testing of order
always a confirmation:
the wind rowing the wide bay
brisk with dusk.
Be glad for it. Go home.
F. Daniel Rzicznek‘s collections and chapbooks of poetry include Vine River Hermitage (Cooper Dillon Books 2011), Divination Machine (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press 2009), Neck of the World (Utah State University Press 2007), and Cloud Tablets (Kent State University Press 2006). His individual poems have appeared in Boston Review, The New Republic, Orion, Mississippi Review, Hotel Amerika, Shenandoah, and Notre Dame Review. Also coeditor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice(Rose Metal Press 2010), Rzicznek teaches writing at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.