John Poch


Elegy for a Suicide

She always liked to blow the candles out. Fact:
there’ s only so much you can do with friction
and an intentional hand before the hand burns.
The sound that scissors make in a child’ s hand
while crunching construction paper aches when
she grows older. Even popcorn ceilings lose that style,
that feeling of a cereal freshly drowned in milk.
Ah, the white beneath things. And the black below that.
We come down from bunk beds. We come down from
the funky reds and yellows of the spring’ s summer tanager

The Llano Estacado

How much soil do you plow to soothe a conscience?
If you’ re a staked plains, dry-land, long view man:
a sky’ s worth. Some even sow the dry playa
mid-summer with sorghum, the cotton plowed under
after early hail. Thus, not every farmer keeps
an old broken homestead sacred as a graveyard.
Today, no Sharpshin on a pivot for an omen,
no stoic farmer on a turn-row changing water.