Show me two fountains, I’ll die
of thirst between them. I have
a hard time deciding, even which
things to neglect. Some other day,
I bought ten peaches and a girl
asked if I wanted a sack to carry
them home — actually she said,
Would you like a plastic bag, one
that’ll still be here long after you
and I are soap? Or do you wanna’
hold’em to your chest and run off
like a pregnant horse from a fallen
city? — and I cried into my sleeve
because I wanted both. There used
to be a fountain where my people
drank from the mouth of a marble
lion. Some said the water was like
a roar, a long roar you could take
into your own throat and swallow.
Others said it was only the river
you’d expect to find inside any lion.
Every year a few of us drowned
in the act of choosing a side. One
morning an army stormed the town;
they found the streets empty and
the cemetery full, but for one man
standing in a plot, waving. Help,
he wailed, Do I look like a roar or
a river? The invaders fell back,



Whatever gets between us and the sky
becomes the sky / It’s how we start to
wish on the flicker in a smoke alarm /
how sometimes the bed seems hidden
under moss / We sit long after the lamps
go down / The park so dark / the moths
dive at our phones / It makes sense to
laugh down the street / The street waits
its turn / then rolls out its black receipt
for things we don’t remember / We
can’t read the numbers / What we owe
is somewhere behind those trees in
the wallpaper / or way the other way



Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 10.34.23 PMBrendan Constantine’s work has appeared in FIELD, Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, Poetry Daily, and Hotel Amerika among other journals.  His first book, Letters To Guns (2009 Red Hen Press), is now taught extensively in schools across the nation.  His most recent collections are Birthday Girl With Possum (2011 Write Bloody Publishing) & Calamity Joe (2012 Red Hen Press).  He has received grants & commissions from the Getty Museum, James Irvine Foundation, & the National Endowment for the Arts.  He is currently poet in residence at the Windward School and conducts workshops for hospitals, foster homes, & with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project.

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