Beating his lead, by Hans Faverey

Beating his lead with the blunt
end of his axe, flattening it
in order to forget that he is

a child of death who wants to weight

his net. Until it is suddenly
done and the one who did not disappear
stands in my room, taking me
in; still lying whether I am,

and how. Just as you might ask
a fisherman returning with nothing:
So where’s the fish? And for him to reply,
without resentment, without envy:
The fish—it’s in the sea.

Their Story, by Stuart Dybek

They were nearing the end of their story.
The fire was dying, like the fire in the story.
Each page turned was torn and fed
to flames, until word by word the book
burned down to an unmade bed of ash.
Wet kindling from an orchard of wooden spoons,
snow stewing, same old wind on the Gramophone,
same old wounds. Turn up the blue dial
under the kettle until darkness boils
with fables, and mirrors defrost to the quick
before fogging with steam, and dreams
rattle their armor of stovepipes and ladles.
Boots in the corner kick in their sleep.
A jacket hangs from a question mark.