As If at Its End
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
Copyright © 2019 by David Welch.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
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 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.