Fred Marchant


Against Epiphany

What god was it that would open
earth’ s picture book and see the two
of us on a road, snowfields glittering
on every side and poplars bent like
the fingers of an old man clutching
what he loved about the sun?

Which one was it that would peer
into our thatched, white-washed
farmhouse, and see the fur, flies,
and shit-stained walls? Which one
laughed at the barbed wire fences,
the wall topped with broken glass?


That whine is the sound
of waste, rot, the frantic,
grinding inability to attend
to anything but sere thwarting
of yourself, a dry corrosion
which some say they know,
but you and I —

(my jaw clenched as you
turn a page,
you with a heart like drywall,
I who would
lace my arms with razors,
then press them
slowly to your lips,
the metal taste
mixing with flesh,
and through gritted teeth
I making the sound
of you, you, you
do not know, meaning
only me, me)

Note Held

“Nothing but sunlight and gleaming,
linoleum flecked with flame,
a thick coat of wax that flashed
down a corridor and led to a room,
a place where I curled up a few
innocuous inches off the floor.
Straps — word out of strophe,
the restraints of line and stanza —
straps hung in loops on closet hooks.
On the nightstand a basket with
peanut butter crackers, a vivid
and unnatural orange, a crinkly
wrap. A knee-high fridge stocked
with icy juices, foil boxes, straws
glued on. A female voice next door