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Many poems by Joe Hall pt. 1

Dipping an oar in the poison, pulling through
The incandescent sheen, the swans baiting the poison
With their hook-like heads, the soft, the wear
A richness darkens, what poison brings
Into itself, walking purple clots
Sailboats driving through
An ocean’s blood, the rose, the double displaces
Gentlest rasp, the callused thumb across
The linen, the milk, the poison
Wanting democracy, wanting to kill everyone in the world
Wanting cancer dissolved from her body
Illogical edible flowers
That you eat, in profusion
Stem and all like sherbet veined
With what lights a gem
These are my white secrets, my dolphin
That the body dies, the clot radiates
The darkened light you fill dissolves
The peace that floats like oil in the spreading
Poison, petalled fist, glass fist, mercy surpassing, mountaining
Flowering, hyacinth, pearl in the cup, the staining
Gate that holds the poison
Leaves, septagonal node
The poisoned gate, the whirlwind
Of stamen, of pollen, of bees
One fire moves over the tiles
like a man sleepwalking, it doesn’t spread, it
sweeps and the other fire just born
gathers its little, its bird, the name
you call me—This is you, lay it down
beside this outline bending
past itself, you turn toward the flicker
your hands, your collar, that reaches toward
shivers as the hand
if felt, a second shadow of a second sun
ascends past fields, your window, to lay its finger
on your hand and echo, the bed
as if under the weight of an invisible clapper
a non that hums without a sound you
shake and shake and shake the sheets
a transparency flattening you into
a transparency so the transparency of a man may be lain
above and beside you projected by
light I know, I know
just a fire sweeping tiles, just paused
in the corroded gate—
can the fire say? ‘Sacred’—Words bubbling
this trace to joint—gate
disintegrating weather can’t burn
or burns slowly there, the vapor twining
fuel makes the house the valley unsay
either us or nothing
thinking, guarding, falling away
Joe Hall was born in the woods and is devoted to Cheryl. He is the author of The Devotional Poems (Black Ocean 2013). With Chad Hardy he wrote The Container Store Vols. I & II (SpringGun 2012). His poems, fiction, book reviews, and essays have appeared in Gulf Coast, Octopus, HTMLGiant, The Colorado Review, and elsewhere.