2 Poems

by John Calavitta


For one day only
those who walk don’t have to think

that we were born here, not there,
which means there’s a chance

in a land without a meaning,
an answer in the frozen ground

like an unexpected comma.
A page is missing from the book

in the forest. Out of the question
each arrow strikes a bell which shuts a door—

thank you for seeing in the dark
what is wrongly called the distance;

what we ask for
when we cut our losses and proceed

as if we were protagonists, or lovers;
salmon headed upstream.

I remember the illusion of persons
acting younger than I am. We stand

convicted of the topical and transitory,
the sea deliberately gone.


Crates of Oranges

on the rulered page (of a Moghul garden)
the best word is water

but the first ocean was the best
between the horizon’s brackets

the main sentence waits

the world ahead was daylight
and no one dared get out

liars in the glass
argue that light will last

regardless of tenses and final clauses
the black bureau of history

is a maelstrom of loves and hates
and our shadows walk on stilts

at high altitudes
because my breath is gone

leaving stone blocks for goodbye
that painters find innocent

John Calavitta studied poetry at George Mason, Naropa University, and the University of Washington. His work appears in Camas, The Monarch Review, and Mudlark, among others.