Bruce Bond


3 poems

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.

                                    Staring back.



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
he speaks.
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,
                                                another’s cathedral
            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
                                                            however named.

                                                            Is.       Nameless.

                        The unborn child.
                                                            However named.

 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.