Fountain Found in an Abandoned Garden

Tristan Beiter

Fountain Found in an Abandoned Garden

A summer sung, the body of the burnished,
bright, youth, electrum
coursing through his veins—
dashed glass eyes, sharp,
every fragile facet

Greenery exploding to fill the gaps
in his holy skin. I ripped
roots of ivy pulling away. I was certain
it would king me. It didn’t; instead it
left lost leaves to linger on my lips,
muddied me. Statues spoke
in naked voices: “Turn the ring,
open the fountain, and see yourself reflected at his feet.”
Pearl crushed against bone, lucent trails
like the queen reclining in her chair.

He is ready. Vanish the dark ball,
stone waiting for sand
to wear it thin, waiting for the kiss of winter
under waters.

He is valiant, vying vitreous,
warm, all gleam and refraction, weighted
with Xerxes’ gold around his neck.
Yes. The yew grew in his shadow, its fruit red
zephyrs with the innocence of sin.


Tristan Beiter is a poet and speculative fiction nerd originally from Central Pennsylvania. His work has previously appeared in such venues as Liminality, Fantasy Magazine, Twisted Moon, and Abyss & Apex. When not reading and writing, he can be found crafting absurdities with his boyfriend, doing needlecrafts, and shouting about literary theory. Find him on Twitter at @TristanBeiter.

Author’s Comments: This poem began as an exercise where I set out to write an abecedarian poem (one where every line begins with a different letter of the alphabet). Although I ultimately didn’t retain that form, it was generative in working through the relationship between the past, aesthetics, religion, and desire by forcing the poem to be written propulsively as I moved through the alphabet. This forward push prevented me from dwelling on one topic, letting the place and the interrelations between each element push the poem forward. The poem is also inspired by a palimpsest of several locations: sculpture gardens, the weathered bench next to the Episcopal church near my childhood home that was hidden behind bushes, numerous parks with decorative fountains and various overgrown lawns and gardens. These places all carry, for me, the chance to imagine possibility in their quiet and their combination of care and neglect, companionship and loneliness. This poem, in conflating them, was an attempt to capture those energies and the contemplations I have done there.

Image credit: A fountain bust (Wallpaperflare)

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4 Responses to Fountain Found in an Abandoned Garden

  1. Karin says:

    Wonderful. I read it first and had a totally different sense. Then listened and got a whole new vision. Love when words can do that.

  2. Pingback: Author Interview with Tristan Beiter: Understanding Speculative Poetry

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