Joseph Fasano


           after Rilke

A boy lies in a house
beneath the rafters.  All
the objects in the room
have grown closer, all become far.
His sister lifts her heavy braid
to her lips, to taste the salt.  She thinks
of the deer hanging in the dark
barn from the rafters, the absent hands
that dressed it
and that dressed her;
of its cleft
chest with the dark stain
in its blue fur, like whiskey
in a boy’s hair as he
sings.  Alone
now, in the ruins of the new
moon, she slips out
in her nightgown and she
listens; she lifts it
in the darkness
of its harness, just
to be sure, now,
for she’s wondered.  Now
she has wandered back
through winter; she has laid her brow
on the hot brow of her brother.
Death, yes, Death is heavier
than the wild silent
falling of all things.

Joseph Fasano’s most recent book is Vincent (Cider Press, 2015), a book-length poem based on the killing of Tim McLean.  He is the author of two collections of poems: Fugue for Other Hands (2013), winner of the Cider Press Review Book Award and Poets’ Prize nominee; and Inheritance (2014).  His poems have appeared in The Yale Review, The Southern Review, Boston Review, Tin House, FIELD, The Times Literary Supplement, Passages North, Measure, and other publications.  A winner of the RATTLE Poetry Prize, he has been a recent finalist for the Missouri Review Editors’ Prize, among other honors.  He teaches at Columbia University.