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Coax, and: Mouth, and: Pilgrimage

From: Colorado Review
Volume 40, Number 3, Fall/Winter 2013
pp. 107-110 | 10.1353/col.2013.0090

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:


It was easy to worship obedient things.
The water that fell off
their heads made pools

on the floor. The shape it left
changed depending on the head
immersed. In the shower

I let water run down my arm
a small river convinced
I felt the first realized ache.

When the river knew the shape of my arm
better than the arm I knew
by sight, I knew water poured over

a face would reveal its shape likewise.
When I coaxed my enemy
to speak with water,

when I showed how the un-coaxed thing
behaves, it was always language
I was after. Names.


What other prayer but
shut the lion’s mouth?
When those who crawl
in caves too tortuous
to hold them,

who push until their limbs
unfold, can’t crawl back,
what is left to pray for?
The mouth is closed
around them. When a man

stopped breathing in the “Birth Canal,”
when the rescuers left him
where it closed, rolled stones
over the cave’s mouth,
no other prayer but one:

In the morning,
as the scripture goes, the king
called for Daniel; Daniel,
from the closed mouth, spoke:
O king, live for ever.


If the rib cage is a labyrinth
for the heart,

if the saws
that split cadavers hang
from cords,
retractable string,

then the heart,
like the cursed half-beast waiting
at the heart,
is not the first thing

Even the saws pulled back in dust
a rib cage makes.

When I reached the chapel
in a house of God
empty of its smoke,

when I had passed the rooms
around it, the doors
that opened into

the rooms,
the dark, the hallways straight,
I still recoiled.

I thought the heart
was safe;

that the cages meant to keep it safe
could still amaze.

Mario Chard  

Mario Chard is a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University and winner of the 2012 "Discovery"/Boston Review Poetry Prize. He is the former poetry editor of Sycamore Review and a graduate of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Purdue University. He lives in San Jose with his wife and two sons.

Copyright © 2013 Center for Literary Publishing
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Mario Chard. "Coax, and: Mouth, and: Pilgrimage." Colorado Review 1.3 (2013): 107-110. Project MUSE. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Chard, M.(2013). Coax, and: Mouth, and: Pilgrimage. Colorado Review 1(3), 107-110. Center for Literary Publishing. Retrieved November 11, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Mario Chard. "Coax, and: Mouth, and: Pilgrimage." Colorado Review 1, no. 3 (2013): 107-110. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed November 11, 2013).
T1 - Coax, and: Mouth, and: Pilgrimage
A1 - Mario Chard
JF - Colorado Review
VL - 1
IS - 3
SP - 107
EP - 110
PY - 2013
PB - Center for Literary Publishing
SN - 2325-730X
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/colorado_review/v040/40.3.chard.html
N1 - Volume 40, Number 3, Fall/Winter 2013
ER -


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