Joseph Fasano

The Dead

Here they are. They sit in their old rooms,

clutching the soft riding gloves of October.

The wind lies open beside them
like the pages of a gospel they can’t follow.

They have exhausted each other.
They have worn off their gold rings

with tenderness, their soles as the moon floods
their foyers, shuffling it away

through the thresholds.
They are the darkening pastures they are heirs to.

Listen: you must give them
to winter. You wake, and the light’s name

is in ruins. You speak, and the waking
is wilder, the wind

is the melody of disaster
playing itself to completion. The wine

weighs its bottles
in the cellarage, open and no one’s

and turned. Listen: this hour
is the last hour. You must walk out

through the barrenness and falter. You must lie down
in the orchestra of winter.

You must learn to be sung through
as the wind wills: not wholly, not lowly, not risen, not shriven,

not long.

Joseph Fasano is the author of Fugue for Other Hands, winner of the 2011 Cider Press Review Book Award. His recent poems have appeared in Tin House, Boston Review, The Paris-American, Silk Road, Passages North, and other publications. He was recently featured by both Verse Daily and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day program, and has been a finalist for the Missouri Review Editors’ Prize and the Autumn House Press Book Prize, as well as a Pushcart nominee. He lives in the Hudson River Valley.