Sunday Apr 14

Fay-LeBlancGibson Gibson Fay-LeBlanc's first collection of poems, Death of a Ventriloquist, was chosen by Lisa Russ Spaar for the Vassar Miller Prize and published in 2012. His poems have appeared in magazines including Guernica, The New Republic, and Tin House and have received awards from the Bellevue Literary Review and UC Berkeley. In 2011 he was named one of Maine’s “emerging leaders” by the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media for his work directing The Telling Room, where he still occasionally teaches writing. He is the Poetry Editor of Maine Magazine and is at work on a novel.

August in Maine

You’re so much beach and almost-arctic water
that burns; all those parents and kids tottering
near ancient shores—the former sip and natter
on as the latter dread soon-to-be hall bells—
caught, stuck, the space between ending
and about to begin, those pleasant hells
plying us with ice cream and fireworks
after a baseball game.
Colorful thunder
arcs over city streets and public works
and lands in lawns as ash. Exactly where
are your policemen and your politicians
lounging? In what ice-tea-guzzling haze
do we operate, slouching denizens
of packed towns? You see us think and wheeze.

Hair of the Dog

I do not know what day it is
and I don’t care because the fog
that settled inside my head this morning,
surely a remnant of red wine
and not enough sleep to dream,
has lifted—coffee, two aspirin
and poems the cure. I’ve never tried
hair of the dog—it’s said three
strands worth of that rabid animal
that cocktail of teeth and foam
fix you if placed in the wound, your mouth—
because I fear it’ll work and the thought
of drinking in the morning brings
my father into the poem and
a line of Fays who killed themselves
slowly, one sip at a time. Two
workmen outside patch holes with black
gravely goo, the stuff you could
squeeze from an alcoholic’s liver
if that were possible, and I don’t
mind their scrape and whirring, coughing
truck and generator even
though their spotty patches will
not help the road and disappear
in weeks or months. A drink can smooth
a night’s road, and several, if you
can stop, can even make you seem
to levitate above the road—
a minor god who winks and smiles
at everything— but I always wake
to the same pot-holed street and wonder
why last night I tried to disappear.


Jupiter and Venus in the sky
tonight, high and low, bright
as our eyes. We planets must
conspire, as in breathe
together. Later we’ll dream
the river sound we hear
all night through a crack
in a winter window. Tomorrow
ice will bring us so fast
down a hill, we’ll jump
a mound and almost find
ourselves in the road
which means we’ll remember
our spot of time here
which means we’ll be done
with risk which is only
good when it ends well.
Then a pond will ask and ask
for hours of skate blades
which we will give while
the pines sift and confer
about taking the field.
We’ll take the field so we
can lose ourselves again,
together, here.

Spring Storm

Snow-furred building tops like
a cold semi-glazed look
I get when a set of gears turns
in my head and I see the whites
of my own eyes even when
a small child stands there
my child, this morning, who
tells me about train wrapping
paper—it’s the most serious
thing in the world because it is
in his mind, and I haven’t heard
one word of it as I still
can’t see or hear or taste
a single thing but the snow.