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Poetry by John Sweet 

John's free e-chapbook, Empires, Falling, is available at  John lives in Endicott, NY.




© 2004  John Sweet



sunlight on chrome:  an exercise in moments

or the distance
from one side of the bed
to the other
or the sound of music softly
from a different room

the times you've told me
you hate me

the children that have
never been found

all of the names left
on shelves in empty rooms and
all of the prayers floating
aimlessly through the
cold blue air

your hand where it finds mine

my voice
which offers nothing but
apologies or threats

which stumbles awkwardly
when i try to tell you
obvious truths
and so i fall back on
the comforting weight of silence

i walk to the field where
the burning girl was left but
can find no signs
of violence

can find no signs of god

refuse to accept the
that i'm blind




the sea of static, continued

and i have seen you wrapped in
nothing but sunlight
and i have dreamed your death

i have imagined a world of
slowly burning houses
in a maze of ragged brown lawns

and if i were a believer in apologies
i would give all of mine to you

if the crows could eat your soul
they would

and the room i place you in
is white
and your hands as i remember them
are tied together

your boyfriend smiles
as he shuts the door

your father smiles
as he sits down beside you

as your uncle runs his hand
slowly up your leg

and the baby is held underwater
until it stops fighting
and the days were never meant to have
any deeper meaning
and the sky is either a blanket
or a shroud

you either lie down beneath it
or you're pinned

your small perfect head is last seen
in the rear window of a car
moving slowly in the wrong direction

and is this the whole story?

this is just
the point where it ends

these are the planes dropping
bombs on sleeping villages

these are the pregnant women
suddenly wrapped in flames

what they need to understand
is the necessity of war




landscape with falling house

nothing but rain all summer
and the names of dead soldiers

the shapes they no longer fill
and the sounds their children make

the sounds of sirens on the
other side of town but
moving closer

this nineteen year-old girl drunk
and falling from
a third-floor window

hitting the ground
with the force of ten million
dark red flowers

and i forget her child's name
and never find out what
happens to her

and i wait for you to smile
but you don't

i watch you leave
without speaking

we have come to
know each other too well




All work is copyrighted property of John Sweet.



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