Chad Sweeney

from Little Million Doors: An Elegy for My Father

Long days of rain a phone was ringing   High over the steppes the wet


Gables of the world immortal it was


Our souls streaming into quiets


Of woodgrain toward what


Plane of convergence for years I could not


Answer a music in pain the undying


Will undying in the dying grass                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                




My skin felt heavy I left it Draped   Over a chair to walk out   Across the wet Colors of may I could   See time glow I could   See the ancestors Of trees let me   Ask you this




And the road was all of My bones   All and only I Was on it   Walking to where at noon forever   My voice Far and thinly   Filling up The canyons the boxes   Of its meanings I say was   What I mean is Will be




I was carrying my blood to a

Height above the city

And dropping

It but nothing like a shout

Fell from me a

Whole just then

Into shining




A single light

Death it could be asked


Shadows inside me


The opposite of lightning


Unbearably above the barley field




What is it to live Is to want to live


A pearl translucent what


The rivers are burning

Air in curtains is everywhere


Burning the fields of phlox

And spaces


Of office and morgue snow

What lights


The rooftops the rooftops

I am looking but there is no


Me to do the looking

Between branches between bars   In prisons I was framed By doors the dark   Of the body I was no one And the whole sea




And a man is there follows



Through woods every age but this


Is no woods ahead on the road

The hands



Windows whole rooms of his body


In doorways his voice in

The crossing who my


Son in cedars is he

Me from the bell note


This thunder under

Granite understands us




I was quickling

Through archways


Over grainfloors and water the arches were only

My body the wet


Steps of libraries

Room after room the fountains


Like a page of air I was

Looking for an end


In the book of everything

In shafts


The mines in salt

Marshes a turtle’s


Wet roof in

Reeds and mud and watching


Thistle release its down

And hold and release


Were one word in the small I was


Futuring the thistle to twelve

Distances of


God what is this between us a world  




And this must be what love


Feels like this

Spreading out over




Of leaves

As they flicker out


The children they are all

Children now their hands


On the drums the borders and

Bread is and is

This the gift