Friday, October 29, 2010

John Swain

John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky.  His chapbooks, Prominences and Sinking of the Cloth, appeared from Flutter Press and Set Apart Before the World Was Made appeared from Calliope Nerve Media. Full of Crow published his ebook, The Feathered Masks. His work has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best of the Web.

Medallion on the Banks

A river of leaves parallels the flowing river
in the changing wind.
I pray someday to fall
like these spirits quicksilver into themselves
and then move effortlessly into one another.
The sun cuts like a medallion on the banks
as the end of journeys continues on the table
of welcome like a woman's givingness.
I scrape the mud caked on my wading boots
and leave myself like a dog on the threshold.

The Body of Water

When the moon subdues its initial conflagration
and silvers the night like another day to harvest,
I silence the bronzed waving fronds I trampled.
The exposed rock shelves ascend like a pyramid
to the wine chalice of a sky lake,
I drank again and again from the body of water.
My life before slept preserved in a wrap of furs,
a red pheasant flushed from where I cut my rib,
then a handful of sand became my only companion.
I burned a queen hibiscus and sage to clean myself
and rowed in a boat of matted reeds and grasses
where the sky emptied its being on hems of azure.


I fear for the unborn
and fear for the wild,
all that has passed between us
will drift away.
And as glass beads fall
from around your neck,
this fear is the extent
of our natural inheritance.