Back to Issue Thirty-Two



Lord I trust you      I trust
myself not to trust you
when the snow laces the powerline

the window      and even my hand
against the glass doesn’t melt it

my heart is so far from the river
I swam in as a kid      its crawfish
we would find under the rocks

the chill on our skin      of the cold water
Lord I felt your presence      there

in the banked mud against
my feet      were you there with me
Lord      I used to speak to you

in the dark of my bedroom
you are the father who never

comes home from work      I want
to say I love your voice even though
I can’t hear it      I have forgotten

how to pray except during panic
Lord I don’t want only to feel

close to you when I think I’m dying
I want a river covered in
snow      I want a knock on the door



A Silverfish in the Childhood


picture of my father      pressed in the glass
my father’s year-old face      soft focus

and bodiless      his teeth coming in      I tap the glass
the silverfish’s small body      doesn’t move

doesn’t fall       to the wood frame      as I’d expect
looks more like a tiny lobster      than an insect

who survives      between books on a shelf
its dead body      a temporary monument

in the museum of my family      on the wall
of what was my sister’s bedroom      the silverfish

an insect who eats paper to live      no history is safe
from this centimeter of grey dust      that sought out

this picture as its meal      that only thought of
a way in      but not a way out      in the edge

of the photo      the year 1959      the silverfish
tried to consume      that year      corner by corner

reverse the past      or at least    its representation
my father’s young brain      forming each fold

learning from his father      which family member
was okay to hit      my father’s childhood

a broken branch      he would break      into smaller pieces
over his knee      if only that silverfish

could’ve eaten those days      before they happened
stopped my inheritance      if only it could’ve

spared me      wrath      a smiling baby who’d grow up
to throw in a fit      whatever was closest

at children      who’d grow up      to rub my back
during the sermon      who’d search for the knot

the old-testament God      and the new-testament God
are the same God      the same package deal

if only that silverfish      could’ve made it across
the picture      across the soft hair      on my father’s brow

I had a chance      not to be here      standing in front
of this picture      I could’ve not been here      that erasure

wanting its help      wanting to fade
from the frame     I could’ve not been here

I could’ve been paper passed through a body




William Fargason is the author of Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs of Gadara (University of Iowa Press, April 2020), winner of the lowa Poetry Award. His poetry has appeared in The Threepenny Review, New England Review, Barrow Street, Prairie Schooner, The Adroit Journal, Rattle, The Cincinnati Review, Narrative, and elsewhere. He earned a MFA in poetry from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. in poetry from Florida State University. He lives with himself in Tallahassee, Florida, where he serves as the Poetry Editor of Split Lip.

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