First the breathless flight from the village, the whip's
small script on your tongue. Then stench, then rest, then silence. You'd not thought
such spectacle persisted: thick wool shifting in darkness, each beast
to its own monk's cell. It was winter, then winter, then winter. Remember the door
cast open, owl-song swirling above you, brittle
as an orphan's dominion? How you crouched in a piss-laden
cellar, while the blade's hymn whispered for more? Moon-
stone, strong- box, psalter: You will wait here
alone, into hunger, where the floor's good granite
surrendered, in the crook of your cold-stone
hollow, in the ghosts of the arms of the poor:
the lamb's blood thick on your jaw now, where the wind's
wild hand still lays it, saying taste
and see, and surrender, as though filth were the brilliance's door.
10 The Paris-American
Joseph Fasano is the author of Fugue for Other Hands, due out from Cider Press in January, 2013. His poems have appeared in FIELD, The Yale Review, Tin House, The Southern Review, Boston Review, and other publications. He won the 2008 RATTLEPoetry Prize for "Mahler in New York," and he has been a finalist for the Missouri Review Editors' Prize, the Kinereth Gensler Award from Alice James Books, and the Times Literary Supplement Poetry Competition, as well as a Pushcart Prize nominee. He teaches at Columbia University, among other institutions. About Fugue for Other Hands, Jeanne Marie Beaumont has written, "...this book embodies 'further, deeper, wilder'...it is never timid or tamed, has no easy comfort or uplift to offer but immerses us in the disturbances of living on this mortal earth from start to finish."