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  • Eco, and: Atoll
  • Bruce Bond (bio)


The other member of this conversationis the forest we are in, the one that is here

and not quite here, not the woods we knewwhen we were young and lost and elsewhere.

I too have a new face and the faceless woundit floats on, the long loneliness for power

to salvage some broken friend or ocean.Just when I thought I was alone again,

my limbs take on the look of skies on fire,as planets do, and monks, and drunken men

whose vague unease is longing to be shared.Even the best convictions dream the damaged

world that says, I know, I too am worried.The other voice among us is a certain change

in the wind. And once, when I was young,I heard it speak. And in its speaking, listen. [End Page 15]


The shovels of the last war here          take on, in time, a phantom life.

All night the slough of rock, steel,          unclaimed bone, the dull heft

and pallor of silt, raised, turned,          released, and raised again as dust.

An island buries what it must.          Long after the ash has settled

over the eyes, after the suns on flags          have burned and longboats resume,

casting their nets across the wreckage,          the spades keep doing what

spades do. The ghost in the machine          of an otherwise peaceful life

worries the earth, burying the dead          in the dead who just keep rising.

Which is why the islanders leave their home          in foreign hands, promised

for their absence the refinement          of a weapon to end all weapons,

to bomb the hell out of heaven          and give it back. And shipped off [End Page 16]

into exile for good, tented on a near shore          with a crate of provisions,

the ocean breeze their only contract,          they see it: the blooming of suns

that stretch their haloes from the target.          Twenty-three in all, each

with its prevailing wind. They feel the heat          on their faces. And in their eyes,

the image of earth, beyond reach          or recognition, scattered to the open sea. [End Page 17]

Bruce Bond

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-one books, including Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (2018), Dear Reader (2018) Sacrum (2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997–2015 (2017), Gold Bee (2016), and Black Anthem (2016). He is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.



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