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About this Poem 

“Though I've lived in various cities for years now, I'm originally from a small town in the Hudson River Valley.  I wrote ‘Testimony’ after driving north from New York City and walking out into some fields where I'd spent nights as a child.   I remember thinking, among other things, of Larry Levis' praise of the ‘winter stars,’ of Galway Kinnell's reunion with the ‘wild darkness,’ of Mark Strand's wish to ‘lie down under the small fire / of winter stars.’  So I did.  And the stillness that I heard there became this poem.  Of course we've all tried to return somewhere and found it impossible, but sometimes that very impossibility can become its own song.” 

Joseph Fasano

Testimony

If tonight the moon should arrive like a lost guide
crossing the fields with a bitter lantern in her hand,

her irides blind, her dresses wild, lie down and listen to her
find you; lie down and listen to the body become

the promise of no other, the sleeper in the garden
in its own arms, the exile in its own autumnal house.

You have woken. But no one has woken. You are changed,
but the light of change is bitter, the changing

is the threshold into winter. Traveler, rememberer, sleeper,
tonight, as you slumber where the dead are, if the moon’s hands

should discover you through fire, lie down
and listen to her hold you, the moon who has been away

so long now, the lost moon with her silver lips
and whisper, her body half in winter,

half in wool. Look at her, look at her, that drifter. 
And if no one, if nothing comes to know you, if no song

comes to prove it isn’t over, tell yourself, in the moon’s
arms, she is no one; tell yourself, as you lose

love, it is after, that you alone are the bearer
in that changed place, you alone who have woken, and have

opened, you alone who can so love
what you are now and the vanishing that carries it away.

Copyright @ 2014 by Joseph Fasano. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright @ 2014 by Joseph Fasano. Used with permission of the author.

Joseph Fasano

Joseph Fasano

Joseph Fasano is the author of three collections of poems, Vincent (Cider Press Review 2015), Inheritance (Cider Press Review, 2014), and Fugue for Other Hands (Cider Press Review, 2013), winner of the Cider Press Review Book Award.

by this poet

poem

It’s true there were times when it was too much
and I slipped off in the first light or its last hour
and drove up through the crooked way of the valley

and swam out to those ruins on an island.
Blackbirds were the only music in the spruces,
and the stars, as they faded out, offered

poem

You sit at a window and listen to your father
crossing the dark grasses of the fields

toward you, a moon soaking through his shoes as he shuffles the wind
aside, the night in his hands like an empty bridle.

How long have we been this way, you ask him.
It must be ages

poem

Before I watched you die, I watched the dying
falter, their hearts curled and purring in them

like kitfoxes asleep
beside their shadows, their eyes pawed out by the trouble

of their hunger. I was
humbling, Lord, like the taxidermist’s

apprentice. I said
yes, and amen, like the

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