Thursday Apr 26

JasonLabbe Jason Labbe is the author of a chapbook, Dear Photographer (Phylum Press, 2009), and his poems appear or are forthcoming in Poetry, Boston Review, Conjunctions, A Public Space, American Letters & Commentary, Barrow Street, and elsewhere. He has an MFA from The University of Virginia and lives in Bethany, Connecticut.
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To Find the Shape Before the Name


The street ends before the tracks,
and the tracks bend
behind the black only trees can make.
Now streetlight corrupts us. The shadow
of another freight train
streams across the side of the white shed.
It's not that night begins
in the middle of something—
point of departure,
                       a suggestion of distance,
is a way to say nothing nowhere.

>

Few would beg for life on the porch.
Few would refuse it:
                      back yard of shadow, blue
light of slipping hours, my friend
asleep against me—the twitch
from her untouchable dream.
Is there a name for this

shape, or only description.

>

The train brakes and steel tons screech
like some kind of agony.
                         The reappearing
moon's corona makes it easy for her
to think of a massive machine
as a suffering childish beast.

Stars are not so steely.

>

I never wonder where it's going, only why
it keeps coming through here.

>

We want to find the concealed cry
as much as we want
to run from it.
Dusk below the trestle
                      we found in the gravel
little bleached bones scattered around
a column of vertebrae.
I almost scooped them onto a thin scrap
of cold rusty tin.

Light humidity holds night together.
Asleep against me she is warm and oily.