Today's poem is by Elton Glaser

The Runes, the Brute Remedies

Leaves down, and day down, and mercury
At home in the cold measure,
In the buried bulb.

All afternoon, a low shoal of clouds
Rippled across the sky,
Flow of hearsay on the westering waters.

It's a long fall from the roadside sumac
With its burnt blooms,
The rusty oaks, the tree of heaven cast out,

And a far stretch to the milkweed, and lilies
On their tall stalks,
Barefoot ambitions in the air.

We open the book of oblivion, the runes
Of ruin, thumbed over
In the end time,

Almanac of snow from the moon, season
Of the blood sacrifice,
A good month

To screw the lid down tight on words
Preserved in vinegar,
Pickled in the brine of our own sweat.

Veterans Day, and the flags stiff, the halyards rattling,
A breeze blowing hard from
No man's land—

In memory, we perfect the dead,
Fetish and relic
In the brittle ministry of the mind.

And then the sun cuts through November
Hazing the gray, a blade
Cleaning itself in the lover's wound,

And we suck in the rumors of breath,
The light
Infinity wastes on our tired faces,

Fire with nowhere to cling but the broken
Branches in the grate,
As if that mattered to us now,

As if we were not summoned to the dark
By our own dumb voices—
Hush of shadow, threshold of stone.

Copyright © 2003 Elton Glaser All rights reserved
from Meridian
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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