Joshua Beckman





So untrue my firm countrymen, so untrue.

Your reckless hellos and your gurgling sorrows –

                          clasped in each others arms.

I direct you to the grand panorama that God has built –

some hundred years ago over that ridge they came,

strong planks smashed into dirt


                                              my rocker rocks on pounded earth


In my lap a quilt is lain.

Child, ask your brother to go check the sundial.

The Beckman clan calls for the death of another animal,

and I need finish my sewing by nightfall.








Whistling into your picture and finding naught

but the lonely still so afraid. Before long we

will head above ground, the spun thread of all

that lies gently upon your leg will prepare for the

lift and glare that wakes you up. Only the done and

the sad must be sorry, only the dead spot in your

brain where the blood silently pools. Let us to the

Carolinas go – and there rest in that moveless sun –

No more nearness and worry – no more undeclared

weakness. My ankles are crushed, my eyes, when God

knelt down in front of those children it was already

too late. Yesterday in your queer drunken state you

went and when you called – such shallow charms for

will we cannot go – you said it so simply – that lace

on your leg, and those who do so sew such things

in hope of keeping them.