Back to Issue Twelve.

BENEDICTION

BY JOSEPH FASANO

 

Because it is still possible to whisper yes
another hour, wander out through wintering

awhile.  Wade out through the deep snow
of the pastures, the lost ones in the small skiffs

of their shadows, the moon's coins in the shallows
of their palms.  Lie down on the frozen drum-skin

of the reservoir, in the immensities of the absences
of the grasses, in the perfect ignorance of the wind.

You have had to begin over.  You have had
to empty your life of astonishing things,

to give up what the lost cannot be given. 
You have had to hand your vengeance to the great

gods.  Come, now: it is after
every hour.  You have leaned down to your losses’

hearts like yearlings, their little shoes of iron
for the voyage.  You have salvaged them in darkness

and done harm.  Come, now: it is after
every after.  In the lost’s songs, in this ruin 

that has loosed you, be there to listen to it
happen: the winnowing, the wilder wings 

departing, a radiance arriving
through night air.  Be there 

to listen to them open: the wild wings
in the cold air far above you, the doomed moon 

in the tatters of her splendor, the story
in the winter’s bitter stars.  

In the wind, in the bitter hands
of winter, be there to listen to it 

whisper: the one word, the world's song
you have not sung, the one song 

you can only be, not sing of;
the one song in the night air, 

in the high pines; its singing, 
which, in winter, as it plays 

you, as you play out through the fading
of the radiance, as your changing 

takes its place among that radiance, 
may have grace to make you almost what you are.

 

 

Fasano 12

Joseph Fasano's most recent book is Vincent (Cider Press, 2015), a long poem based loosely on the killing of Tim McLean by Vince Li.  His two collections of poems are Fugue for Other Hands (2013), winner of the Cider Press Review Book Award and Poets' Prize nominee, and Inheritance (2014).  His poems have appeared in The Yale Review, The Southern Review, Boston Review, Tin House, FIELD, The Times Literary Supplement, Passages North, Measure, and other publications.  A winner of the RATTLE poetry prize, among other honors, he has been featured in the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day program, the PEN Poetry Series, and Verse Daily, and his work will appear in the forthcoming anthology Poem-a-Day: 365 Poems for Any Occasion (Abrams, 2015).  He teaches at Columbia University and Manhattanville College.