June 26, 2009

Joseph Fasano

MAHLER IN NEW YORK

Now when I go out, the wind pulls me
into the grave. I go out
to part the hair of a child I left behind,

and he pushes his face into my cuffs, to smell the wind.
If I carry my father with me, it is the way
a horse carries autumn in its mane.

If I remember my brother,
it is as if a buck had knelt down
in a room I was in.

I kneel, and the wind kneels down in me.
What is it to have a history, a flock
buried in the blindness of winter?

Try crawling with two violins
into the hallway of your father’s hearse.
It is filled with sparrows.

Sometimes I go to the field
and the field is bare. There is the wind,
which entrusts me;

there is a woman walking with a pail of milk,
a man who tilts his bread in the sun;
there is the black heart of a mare

in the milk—or is it the wind, the way it goes?
I don’t know about the wind, about the way
it goes. All I know is that sometimes

someone will pick up the black violin of his childhood
and start playing—that it sits there on his shoulder
like a thin gray falcon asleep in its blinders,

and that we carry each other this way
because it is the way we would like to be carried:
sometimes with mercy, sometimes without.

from Rattle #30, Winter 2008
Rattle Poetry Prize Winner

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For more on Joseph Fasano, visit his webpage.

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