from Leafmold

The goldsmith throws a hawk to the ground. She was caught up in the restoration of darkness. In black suits, we don't really know what the research sows. Friendship and déjà vu continue as our anthems. This way of living lies heavy—there has to be a witness going downhill fast, knitting us together. There will be a run on survival and ovation, a chance to get a common life, a complete switch. If you are one of those people, a picture circulating like a wineskin, switch. If they don't call it wonder, switch. It seems that the thrill of existence wounded many households, a circle of orchards, dependent on the dole of the world. Fallen men we preserve. Our highest law is thinking—levels of the human heart. All of this is admirable, of course. Unclean water is a call to listen very closely, to spout other voices. Through sinkholes this side of heaven, the spine is unimaginable. And the blind. You never claimed calamity. You saw as a whole. This spontaneous outpouring prevailed in both. You move in the sense. Released from lives of prosperity, we are learning tribulation. It's the holy things that curse.


Like life breathed into sand: a good long time ensues. What could be the enormous face of a wolf pushes past the tops of pines and maples; the spastic circuit of a bat halves it. I decide to make a fire: it fails to shape the problem of human consciousness into a more approachable form; it succeeds at making ash. It succeeds at smelling like the first dusk of existence. Who am I to say even one word about the image of John Coltrane praying at Nagasaki? My summer lives on the making of lists; I crumple them into full moons, mown yards, sick dogs licking their chops—run and see, run and see. Your absence, Amanda, is a vocabulary my muscles can barely tolerate. Once we were stones flying in place at the stream's bottom. Some foot bumped us together. Some hand tossed the evening into motion. Battery life: I know this will be interrupted, at some point sequestered, the message clipped, the view curtained, the object obstructed. In the meantime: fiddle and sax, figure emerging from a shield of wax turning circles—smokeless, fair, inviting linger and idyll. So proud.

F. Daniel Rzicznek is the author of two poetry collections, Divination Machine (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press, 2009) and Neck of the World (Utah State University Press, 2007), as well as two chapbooks, Vine River Hermitage (Cooper Dillon Books, 2011), and Cloud Tablets (Kent State University Press, 2006). His individual poems have appeared in Boston Review, The New Republic, Orion, Mississippi Review, Hotel Amerika, and Shenandoah. Also coeditor (with Gary L. McDowell) 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.