Joseph Zenoni

The rain freezes when it lands

and slick fire-lizards sprout from logs 

when thrown into the stove. Our house

owns a draught I have not felt before,

which has inveigled itself into every corner,

generating blights in the flour. 

Cats shame me with their fidelity,

prostrating themselves,

moving modestly, trusting their own motives.

Divorce holds no contradiction to them.

I play our father, fill the day quietly.

I cut nibs then re-sharpen my knife.

I have seen you everywhere: in petal’s pattern,

and in the unfurling soot-black standards

of the gunsmoke clouds which separate us.

I’ve heard you in wind rushing through horizon’s gap,

where heaven’s dome, a jagged gash

freshly sawn by toothed treetops,

rises from this animal earth.


But it vouchsafes nothing, this north-wind’s sting,

and I woke to a weasel hollering,

leg caught in the rabbit snare.

I have missed mass again.

I sat at the window and waited

until the bright boy came to make his fine points,

that not a union is a union in half,

that to divide is to be divided,

and that which cannot die is not a man.

Brother, I said, take up your turban.

It is less than a mystery to me,

I told him, I’m empty, unstuck.

I told him, I’m opened like a puzzle-box.

I’m no longer committed to the truth.

It was humiliating. A large bat

has taken up our eaves to roost,

escaping from a sky arrayed 

in thunderous hoops and bights of lightning

which no pillar built can ever hope to breach.

I’m soaked to the hilt by the rain’s reach.

White birches quiver. 

Crows moan in the late morning freeze.

Joseph Zenoni is a poet living and working in Seattle. He calls all the best cities of the Midwest home.