On the Rim of Heaven
Everything remains in the certainty of forgetting.
I wanted blindness in the long film of memory, the mysteries
of past cities thrown against the sky between the warring provinces.
There will be heaven among these holy sites and the songs
are almost crippling to hear now, the women of musical talent
from such distant shores. You have felt what the world is like
but those moments have passed and I run upstairs again to listen
for the beginning of all things, racing for the open sea.
These lines become meaningless like the likenesses of souls
confined to sweetness in the birth pangs of another century.
Sunday at Dawn
It may be you were born
under similar circumstances, that the air you breathe
draws blood just as easily, that in the undertow we share
the seasons are aligned
and the poems that we’ve kept quiet
have flooded the distance of our bruises…
It’s true, I’ve cried too much
to allow myself the benefit of compromise
holding tight to the nights I spent
under birdless skies
before I talked with the sun
and the city I had, filled with angels
in their white dresses, kept vigil
in a swirl of sparrows.
In tramping through those streets
we looked for what remained of September
as the gashes healed making room for the frayed
edges of our fingers.
Our spiral ringed notebooks still missing,
I held you for a summer.
Joseph Sheehan is a poet from Baltimore, Maryland. His first collection entitled New Queer Cinema and Other Poems was published in 2015.