At last the wrens have nested In the hollows of his arches, in a house that will not last

Sometimes a poem grasp you from the first line… you read on and sometimes you are disappointed, but sometimes, you are not. How could anyone be disappointed with what follows Joseph Fasano’s first line?


At last the wrens have nested
In the hollows
Of his arches, in a house
That will not last.  What’s wild
Has come to find him, and our sad,
Unhouseled father, whose hands
Can’t hold their labor, has hobbled to his windows
To lift his fading
Language, like silt
From out his rivers, like those fists
Of empty bridles, in a prayer
That he has practiced—for order,
For dominion, as he once kept stallions
Still.  All fall I’ve cursed the hours
Of carrying his body
Through these rooms
Where illness thins him, in the places
He has knelt in, where I swore
I never would.  But today, in bare
Exhaustion, I bowed down
By his waters, and felt a body drifting
Through the shadows
Of my body, through cairns 
Of ancient pyres, through the burdock’s 
Twisted folds.  Like the silence
After family, like the rust
Across its voices, it stooped to kiss the winter
Work had written
In my shoulders, it sniffed
My salted hair.  O I knew
It hadn’t come.  But tell me, 
Now, I whispered, between this water
And this fire, this rest
And worldly labor, in which way
Am I wanted, will you tell me
Where to go?  And with love, and sudden
Wonder, as though it had been
Waiting, the silent thing behind me whispered
No and no and no.
by Joseph Fasano

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