Beside the Steps
by John Snethen
It is a long scar we make ourselves believe we have left. Maybe just that believing is what scours the truce from our solitude. Stares that scavenge the grasps our bodies made of our breaths, how do we walk them back, speak no more of scrapes left in the flooring, until scuffs worn in the warping boards scoff that they bear their palmer’s frowning witness? It can all be gone as quickly as the sparrows who left their familiar, minute pipings etched in the pane’s frost the sun withdraws like a card. We rose to walk beside the steps that brought us home last night; let their hollows of snow hold our glances, carry them like votives into this dusk.
Enough from the Sky
by John Snethen
That slight swallow you gather under the realization the next failing has clarified the way on, forgive it, forgive this body wrung from turpitude primaeval, so desperate against the ages’ privations it makes the nourishment of fortitude the first ceremony of grieving, the forlorn asking after emptiness to bear against what has begun, what has been laden, the mind already weighing beneath surety, a prayer begun at the bending fate cowls out of time, a slick, black bough weighted in rain. You’ve watched it, the water reaching back up the underside of the branch again and again to gather enough from the sky to be swallowed on into what it must.
John Snethen is a life long Iowan. He has a BA in English from the University of Iowa. He has swum in the Iowa River, lived in Iowa City and in Iowa County. He has had about a dozen poems published in three publications, one of which is Lyrical Iowa.