Poems by Francis-Xavier Anopuechi

ICARUS AND THE LAND OF DAWN

Silent milk:
There is nothing for you here anymore
Not even sleep

Black and seamless
In this body carved from the night cliff

And the numb dumb boredom
Of a kingdom
Without yellow rooms

Where food and ships
Wings or dreams
Cannot proceed to grow

Withering biblically instead,
No cup of coffee murmuring
Pour milk into me

At dawn, no shiny newborn thing
Seeking your
Anchorage.  No

Perfection in this moment
Where Roger isn’t in his court
Rolling the ball like trains.  I can

Unfurl migraines across a terra
Cotta floor is
All I’ve achieved and of course

In winter, everything
Distills
And the spaces between

Crack, shadows
Slip and fall.  Men are

Drinking bulletproof rum to
Forget things and a
Child the milk might

Remember, the child you
Witnessed assembled

By factories writhing and thrashing
On a bed in the middle of
Many nights

Grew up and left
For a place faraway and
Returns now as Icarus

To the land of dawn
Only because he must
Drop old wounds.

 

 

SCARECROW

Unlike you,
I didn’t do the ruins well.  I couldn’t be
gestated outside the womb.

I couldn’t thrive in theaters
of winter shredded into
snow.  I could
never survive on what was left
gripping onto that
anchor of hipbones.

Call me coward—
ineffectual, stilled as dirty sheep in rain

even if
I’d be all that remains
after dingoes have eaten up Australia,
the wheat felled to its knees
in vast flaxen fields.

I am not Roger and the mountain
bearing him bejeweled
children.

I haven’t been fueled
by any of the white lights—by stars or
clarity, by saints or
sperm or fireflies or
a comet flaring across

nations.  Without inspiration, without
motivation
one’s powered only by
echoes in which
the fruit that failure
drops is
a gray bird flying on
the edge of
edible dreams.  I remember

half-finished cups of coffee
and waiting and waiting
and the
fever burning and burning,
erupting no new idols.

There were
failed loves, failed friendships,
failed quests,
failed visions and trying to

run away from the memories
people still hold of me.

I am touring the contours of shame.
I am carved into halls.
But I can’t cry now.

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