Florida State University Graduate Poetry Prize, 2016
Aubade with Barbed Wire
by William Fargason
All we have is a pasture opening into a finger
of woods. We don’t have pockets full of cherry
tomatoes so ripe they look like they’ll split.
If I made you a place out of the rain, would you
stay? Would that be enough? Let’s swing
from rusted chain-link fences and forget our
life expectancies. The trail you left in the snow
last night is still there this morning. If there is
no Heaven, what do we do? Our legs are still shaky.
I asked for a fork but was given a spoon. When
I kissed your neck, I had only begun to speak
to the little animal inside you. This is not Pensacola,
when we were young, building pyramids out of sand.
Our buckets are bottomless. I’ve pulled the anchor in,
even though there were jellyfish caught on
the chain, even though my hands were covered
in welts. I draped my coat across the barbed wire
so that you could get across unscathed. Because I say
I learned, but the marks on my legs prove I didn’t
and never will. Let’s leave in the morning, our bags still
on the splintered dock. Here I am, calling your name.
I thought if I could just make a sound loud enough,
I could drown out the other noises, I could hold you
there. So I tasted the bitter root, I buried all my mirrors.
Dust to dust. A new home is not where we come to
at the end. When we arrive at the gate opening
like a secret, we’ll see something better, hand in hand.
Throw out yesterday’s newspaper and meet me
at the creek at dusk. I have something to tell you.