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.

Joseph Fasano was born and raised in New York's Hudson River Valley.  His poems have appeared in print and online journals including The Yale Review, Tin House, FIELD, The Southern Review, and Boston Review.  He won the 2008 RATTLE Poetry Prize, and he has been a finalist for both the Missouri Review Editors' Prize and the Times Literary Supplement Poetry Competition.  He has also been a semifinalist for the Mid-American Review James Wright Poetry Award, and he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  He teaches at Manhattanville College and the State University of New York at Purchase.



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