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About this poet

Spencer Reece is the author of The Road to Emmaus (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014). He is the national secretary for the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Madrid, Spain.

Homosexuality

After my mother and father fight, my father takes my hand and we walk down to the Mississippi where he smokes Camel cigarettes. He flicks his ashes away from me. He rarely says my name. All day on TV, I watch monks in Saigon douse themselves in gasoline and light their saffron robes on fire. When they ignite, they do not cry out. I study their silence to comprehend how a tongue turns into flame.

Poem from The Clerk's Tale, reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Company

Poem from The Clerk's Tale, reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Company

Spencer Reece

Spencer Reece

Spencer Reece is the author of The Road to Emmaus (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014). 

by this poet

poem
I am thirty-three and working in an expensive clothier, 
selling suits to men I call "Sir."
These men are muscled, groomed and cropped--
with wives and families that grow exponentially.
Mostly I talk of rep ties and bow ties,
of full-Windsor knots and half-Windsor knots,
of tattersall, French cuff, and English
poem
I remember the ponies in the distance.
I remember you talked of a war, no two wars, a failed marriage--
discretely, without force or grandeur.
This was before they amputated your leg, before the stroke.
You rolled your r’s, spoke of Oxford,
recalled driving in the Quaker ambulance unit in China,
where you
poem

              Still singing in my cell
of succulents, staked by a man
who fled. Nothing personal.
How often I get that wrong…
I move on—

              some man
is always fleeing, and that
is never personal. The longer
I go the fewer notes I need. 
My torso a sort of

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