Saturday Nov 18

FredsonTodd Todd Fredson’s poetry and non-fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry International, Blackbird, Court Green, 42 Opus, American Poetry Review, Puerto del Sol, Gulf Coast, RUNES and other journals, and in anthologies as well.  He is the Director of Programming at the McReavy House Museum of Hood Canal and lives in the Skokomish Valley (WA) with his wife, Sarah Vap, and their sons.  Links to work in Blackbird and 42 Opus
---------
 



The Ocean’s Gate
(to the soldier photographed asleep between battles at Khe Sahn, 1968)
 
 
Isn’t the fist just a confused star?
 
Discreet, white,
 
flush to the ears of the waterfall?
 
Bluish layer, elegy notes, blanket
 
upon blanket of them. Aren’t
 
those black strokes hailing
 
the horizon just two arms
 
making many? Night
 
floods itself. The world is colossal enough:
 

blinking through the field of yellow-flowering

flax, his son empties the dog’s ashes

into clouds of thistle and the white

wall of afternoon sunlight...
 
 

A Difficult House
 

My mother loads black garbage bags stuffed with clothes
into the back of the station wagon.
My eyes are bright
 
as if flooded with mercury.
 
The lake’s shore is valiant. Each palpitation
a papercut. We stop the car
 
so that my sister can pee.
Then back into our seats—
 
outside our windows, chunks of amber wash up,
sold as elephant eyes.
 
My sister bundles it, looking everywhere for strangers.
 
~
 
In the waves, each buoy stands
nodding like a little flame,
 
exhaustion-built. Like a hope that is released from our veins.
 
Dad, tries to push the haunts down behind him,
hips through that bottleneck.
 
Hunger
does not mean painless entry.
 
The titular blue sky he carries
has no purchase here.
 
~
 
This heat is a type of freezing,
a not-letting-go. Each childhood
 
with its scars. No song
that puts every child to sleep. My fingers
 
polish the swingset’s chains
bleak
like some door
 
shut against these colloidal storms.
 
I have learned, with my slight smile, with its crinkle,
twitch at the top of my cheek—I have learned
 
this way of growing
one’s skin around this paper lantern of a planet.
 
How stems will snap through the ash.
 
 

To Icarus
 

The hose makes rivers in the yard,
takes patio furniture
left outside by summer residents.
 
There, in the inauguration of heat
my first dream of flying
 
is not yours.
 
Near the shed, a brown recluse in a can of nails.
The walls shimmering.
 
Our neighbor washes himself in the alley,
drenches his head and drinks.
 
Shadow of a bird behind the curtain,
then cornflower blue.
 
Mother should never have lent you
the bees’ appetite for nectar.
 
Should I remember the taste of honeysuckle for you?
 
Mooring-cord
of mussel, sunrise swings down.
Scandent, happy at the smallest memory.
 

 
Dancing Around the Sublime
 

On the outskirts of his village, Adam
is spitting pink tubercular phlegm into his hands.
 
From the scaffolding, on its shaky wooden stilts, he calls:
 
Just tell me to get down and I will.
But I don’t tell him anything.
I never talk again
 
which you doubt
against the possibilities of reading this poem.
 
He is drunk
and I have disappeared into this, the stillest point I could find—
 
Leave him.
At least while I am here with him.