As If at Its End

David Welch

The boy pressed himself in the river with stones
smoothed by the pulse of the water    his veins
blue inside his wrists    blood pushing beneath his skinas if the river were inside him    the sea dragging it alwaysdown   its doubled beat turning
at its end back into the heartHow have you found me the boy said
Like a bottle said the audience   We cannot bear to see
how we left you here    a little clipped    a little greenunder the sun    to drift back toward the sea
If I am a bottle     the boy said    what is inside meIsn’t that the question said the audience
We find you floating like a bottle in the riveruncleanly    little by little filling so you soon sink
like a boy left to drift alone toward the sea
looking for the lower lights and prisms of jellyfishthe softsexed bodies inking themselves into the dark
In the sea the boy said    mustn’t one look always forwardfor the shore    as if without a lighthousethe blood slowing in the fog    Isn’t that the question
said the audience    one in the fog must always leave
their dispositions out at sea

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Print This Poem

David Welch

David Welch is the author of a chapbook, It Is Such a Good Thing to Be In Love with You (The Laurel Review/Midwest Chapbook Series, 2015), and has published poems in journals including AGNI, Pleiades, and Volt. The recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Poetry Society of America, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Welch lives in Chicago and teaches at DePaul University where he is Assistant Director of Publishing & Outreach.

Everyone Who Is Dead

Everyone Who Is Dead revives a language of fable to open a space in which the natural and the spectral cannot be told apart. Here, the boy proceeds as a philosopher, explores the unfinished character of creation, and reveals to his audience an uncertain glimmer in the darkness. In this, Welch’s debut is also a world.

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.