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  • Indirect Light
  • Malachi Black (bio)

i.m. Kathleen Roche (1982-2018)

God of all comfort, closeyour hand over the tract                        houses of Livingston—lay shadow on the subdividedland of Christmas lights                        and cul-de-sacsand minivans—withdrawthe mortar from the bricks                        that bind the staggeredtownhomes and crackedchimneys over white-trimmed                        condominiums—swallow the mailboxesdown into the loam beneath                        each quarter-acrelawn—pull back the plotsof mulch and patchwork                        sod until they spilllike sewage through the streetsand brim the tunnels under                        Morristown, SouthOrange, and East Hanover—strengthen the cold, crooked                        bones that moldthe undertaker's gloveas his fingers smooth the satin                        lining of the pillowsin the caskets where the deadlay faded as old rugs—soften                        the rocks lodgedin the subsoil for the digger's [End Page 16] dented spade—brighten                        the headlightson the hearses as they benddown turnpike exits, leading                        another muteprocession to the cemetery'srusted fleurs-de-lis—ice                        the puckeredcalla lily petals in greensympathy bouquets, raised                        so they glintlike winter trumpetsin the echo of no sound—                        as freezing rainrests on the headstonesand snow falls underground— [End Page 17]

Malachi Black

Malachi Black is the author of Storm Toward Morning (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), a finalist for the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award and a selection for the PSA's New American Poets Series (chosen by Ilya Kaminsky). Black is a 2019 NEA Creative Writing Fellow, and his recent poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Believer, and The Paris Review. He is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at the University of San Diego.



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