Frank The Lamp
by Rich Ives
So that it could have been a miracle,
so that a man who could looked like a second-hand blanket,
so that we didn’t want to be Indians anymore and we didn’t want to be whites either,
so that the wrinkles in his hands were open and we wanted to sleep there and to dream
and to wake away from the memory
because sometimes staring at the sky is medicine,
and so that angel-water doesn’t drown the singer.
The same thing happened one time when Ivan the Nose and Joseph Goat thought something deep inside both of them had thawed and it was making them uncomfortable.
So that later they would need more. Much more.
We’d done some stuff. Not much more than eating and sleeping. No one
blamed us for it, but we felt guilty.
Frank wasn’t there, but we felt guilty. Like our memory of a bluebird
drinking snow from an inverted skull.
Of course it’s not us, but it’s very much like us.
We were out hunting in a wound. We live near a hole in the fabric of
That woman Nurture awakens my chest hairs and sips at the corners of my eyes.
Joseph Goat never shot conundrums with his six-gun, but his knives,
his knives have grown very slippery.
Ivan the Nose was watching with a telescope.
So that Frank the Lamp could appear radiant.
So that the same thing could happen inside each of them.
So that a bluebird could appear out of season.
So that guilt could eat and sleep and stare at the sky and slip away
before we do. Like angel water.
So that it could have been a miracle sleeping in the wrinkles of his hands.
Rich Ives has received grants and awards from The National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission, and The Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation, and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many more. He published a three-volume series of the best of Northwest writing as well as an anthology of contemporary German poetry titled Evidence of Fire. He has published a limited edition collection of his own poetry and translated Yesterday I Was Leaving by Johannes Bobrowski. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. His story collection, The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking, was one of five finalists for the 2009 Starcherone Innovative Fiction Prize.
Poem © 2010 Rich Ives. All other content copyright © 2010 Abyss & Apex Publishing.
Art Director: Bonnie Brunish