Mark Conway

15. White: Echo

As white shutters and as white

As tourniquet, 

As black

As creeks,

As numerous

As glass, the window shattered,

              kindly, to save the fist

As groan, as famine feeds thin dogs, the father falls

As pinetrees into pitch, as tongs

              hammered into sleep so hard you can’t stand it,

     that’s what dawn is.


After the candles gutter,

after the hall,

after the shut door, the hesitation,

the shut door



After the son dies, fathers.–



After the son dies.–



After a son dies a father

is no father.  When

the father is strong enough

to dig the grave, they

won’t let him.  He is strong enough

to lie down and they won’t let him.                                                                                                                           

Sit here, they say, but he won’t let them

help him.  Help him.


“15. White: Echo” (from The Book of Isaac, Burning) was first published in The Journal, Fall 2001.