Blizzard + Dying Words

Chris Forhan


That’s a good word—blizzard—blurred, swift, 
the sound fishing up from below 

a long ago downdraft, snow, fast flicks
at my bedroom window, I was ten, 

fine film of water blearing the glass, 
orange slices in a bowl on the bedside table, 

beneath the needle the Beatles keening 
You don’t get me. Blizzard: is that the word 

that floated into my head then? What 
does it matter. He’s gone, that boy 

is dead, now that I have thought, 
so late, to make him speak.

Dying Words

Clod is gone, and nincompoop
useful names for us once. They vanished
as my sad dying dad did 
and one or two childish wild loves—
so slow to erode I took no notice
till a flitter of wind undid them.

Always some mindless spring 
is spidering forth out of absence,
upright sticks in sludge 
into fusses of pink and yellow.

Whatever is lost returns, just 
in fresh form. What good is that?

O lion, turning your back, 
padding grandly away into tall grass,
let me follow for once to where you go.
Of what you show me there, 
I’ll say nothing, I promise.

Chris Forhan’s latest book is A Mind Full of Music: Essays on Imagination and Popular Song. He has also published a memoir, My Father Before Me, and three books of poetry and has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and three Pushcart Prizes. He teaches at Butler University in Indianapolis.

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