by Joseph Fasano

Joseph Fasano

All night I’ve listened to the voice of a dead singer
from Memphis, Tennessee, who jumped up my stairs with a carnation

over each ear, once, and showed me his frail entrance wound
trembling over his eye like a hive; who convinced me

the voice of Christ is only the tenor of every slave who forgot
to be your father, then said he’d watched his family

carry a stallion from their house, in summer, while it burned
through a Mississippi night, and would I listen more.

I have always wanted to climb inside his voice and paint a huntress
up there, like a tribe I must come from. I have always wanted to sleep

with the nails of Christ in my mouth and suck whatever word
he didn’t draw from them, then bury them with his blue hair

in a constant orchard; I have wanted to eat that fruit again.

But tonight I only want to crawl down there with you, brother,
into the water, because I have been listening to your voice and all

its yellow locusts sifting through the trees I planted by hand,
alone, in these fields. Because I was the one who took those blossoms

from your ears, and laid them out on the wooden table. Because I remember
how you placed the river like a whetstone in your throat, and fell,

and the water has washed off the word you carried on your shoulder
and did not want.

Fugue for Other Hands

Last updated November 24, 2022