What But Dignity in the Vigil

By STEPHEN HAVEN

The night nurse quibbling with the old GP:
The lobbied family becalmed around
Everything morphined: They more or less agree

But not when the coroner calks the door,
Their cargo embargoed, down to the last apple,
Scurvy in the hold. Realtors, creditors conjugate

The numbers of their deep harbors: Always room
To pay some more, foam from the ocean’s floor.
In this you’re meant to swing, hit perfectly

The backwalkover on the beam, high five
Your work colleagues, walk the dog 6 a.m.
As always, flag of your old repose,
That slit sail, that white rose.

 

Stephen Haven is the author of The Last Sacred Place in North America (2012, winner of the New American Press Poetry Prize). He has published two previous collections of poetry, Dust and Bread (2008, for which he was named Ohio Poet of the Year), and The Long Silence of the Mohawk Carpet Smokestack (2004). He directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Ashland University, in Ohio. He was twice a Fulbright Professor of American literature at universities in Beijing.

[Click here to purchase your copy of Issue 08]

 

What But Dignity in the Vigil

Related Posts

Growing up

November 2020 Poetry Feature: David Lehman

DAVID LEHMAN
Science explained everything, / the workings of windshield wipers, for example: / “The darkness causes the rain / and comes from the rain, which goes up / to the sky and falls down again / on the windshield and the windows.

Pine tree at sunset

July on South St. (AEAE)

NICK MAIONE
I open the doors and windows and shut off the lights./ For a while I play tunes on the fiddle / shirtless in my dark house. I love doing this. / For the first time all day I am not at home. / For the first time since the last time / my body is the same size as my flesh.

Beach at dawn

Claudia Prado: Poems from THE BELLY OF THE WHALE

CLAUDIA PRADO
with one strong arm she turns the steering wheel / and hangs the other out the Ford’s window / ashing a cigarette that could set fire to the whole earth / two women crossing a plain changed / by that slant afternoon light / forget the child in the backseat...