Things Impossible to Swallow • poems by Pamela Garvey • number 24 in the 2River Chapbook Series2River

The Dark, A Child Listening

night after night, eyes prowling
the sky outside for the death regatta
breaking in the distance. I heard

their splashing, the churning depths.

My mind hurried to ready itself
for those immigrant throngs.
How long? How soon?
I couldn’t stand then and can’t stand now
the way day bruises so dark

that stars barnacle the dead’s fleet,
how the owl-clock cocks its plastic eyes,

points lopsided wings at glowing numbers.