3 Poems by Daniel J Walsh


12/25/2011

Of the common dreads, none are named
but waiting. Even here, under the aegis

of the left-unsaid, that I doubted
your oath to return, we feel packaged in

by waiting. If a holiday is the practice
of hunger, mine is for what was: the old

unsaddled city, pre-siege and home
to you in your most fathomable. Known

then as nurturer, you were belonged-to.
From nowhere and nearly frozen,

the wrong you arrives, a hovering of skin
and bones and barely. An after with a look

of asking. I offer ribbons and my want
for repair, offer your incense

I’ve been burning without knowing why.

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Houdini

My body is smoke in the shape of a man
and mine only for its vanishing.

I’m more alluring as afterimage,
as Gone, so women want me

to disappear, none of them knowing
I am after what will hold, the handcuff

not charmed loose. All illusions aim
to end escaping and strap me

to what stays. This, a chamber
of metal and mahogany, is my final

sleight. See how the shackles are
donned, how fluid fills the tank. See

how the locks don’t pop
and what I conjure is constraint.

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Wicker Man

Allowed a body, I wanted
another. Not the salt and un-mending

muscle of my own,
but wicker, boneless and capable

of burning.
And they made it for me. I stood inside

and it was fulfilled,
not needing, not quilled by appetite.

An acolyte
set to flames the wicker frame, and within,

I was a fragrance
given off. There were watchers to breathe me

who believed
I could save. I don’t care what it means

to be sacrificed
to fog or feeble gods: this is about me,

how I will abolish
my form to earn the ever— an unoffered

option of lasting,
gathered around, grafted to purpose.

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Daniel J Walsh is a teaching fellow at Columbia University, where he studied for his MFA in poetry. Prior, he received his BA from Muhlenberg College. He also has work forthcoming in Death Hums.