The Boy Soprano
Beneath the bells and tremors of the tower, all the angels are kids,
and all the children serious
with ribbons and horns.
Between the saved and the damned is a wall on fire with saints
and ornamental gold.
The soprano is a boy.
In the casket an uncle,
in his later years, a stranger,
who pulled a coin one Easter from my ear.
I was told he was saved.
I was told no one knows.
If I was speechless, I do not remember.
Then. I do.
Out of nowhere, the silver.
I was breathless.
I was ice.
I was heaven for a moment.
The astonished eye between his fingers.
To each the silence
of impoverishment and that of plenty and the one still bell
in a tower of bells.
And who can tell the one from the other,
the music from the time of day,
what it is our silence prays for.
Bury a man, and still
The silence of a chapel
after a service, it is a silence
like no other.
This much is common.
Bury a woman,
and still the complicity of trees in winter.
One man’s comfort is another’s affliction,
empties and fills and empties once again
the silence of shock into that of wonder.
The words of the widower into the speechless child
who will not be consoled.
Cold, sweet, and utterly clear,
the silence of the untouched meal.
Every plate a mirror, every mirror veiled.
A Child’s Guide to Metaphysics
The other side of lamentation is the shape it makes.
Me here, you there. And in the musical phrase,
a little breathing.
None of the tiresome pretense or maxims of appeasement.
The other side of music is always music and dark now
as the music to come. The music to come
The unborn child.
The other side of a photograph is always alive
and dead and the river in it breathless
as a river was
in the memorial hand
that held the camera.
Look hard enough, and you enter the space
where the river, with its name, began.
Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-two books including, most recently, Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, SIU Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), and Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse, 2018). Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.