15 January 2010 | Vol. 9, No. 4

Conversion Blues

– for Rachel

tell us about evening and about the bright

star tell us about the huge dark wall

where it is pinned so if no one is looking

the sky is really burning and tell me it is my eyes

that douse it all to soot, black branches

with one root in carbon and budding eternity.

explain that once a month a family of owls covers

the tree, winks at us, refuses to explain their singing.

when snow is thinly falling we see you there,

the slowest star, and I hear you thinking

of a story, that mute wetness spread across the field is you

clearing your throat, all stories being born

from silence. what story: the snowflakes

cut from the sun are large as cars in the darkness

and grow small and doily when licked

by January stars. what story: barefoot,

running in the wake of the plow,

cold black clods and white sun blessing your steps,

no Jesus yet to dream you into majesty, earth

being enough, no steeple secrets, no divine moons

to pin back your hair, no soap for your tongue, no lye,

no alabaster mothers to sew in a new tongue

and holy toast, cracked as headstones, for you to chew.

are you ready to climb to the top of the stairs?

to tell me about the star nation, the unnamed,

what some grandfather of the clean, glowing

cafes and dive bars of the moon

call morning, a newborn's grouchy hunger?

the dew its mouth and tongue sing for?

think of me in the low thorns, hunched like an umbrella,

my small ribs breaking toward the clouds like love.

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About the author:

Chris Pexa's poems have appeared in Hayden's Ferry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Juked, and other journals. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in English Literature at Vanderbilt University and lives in Nashville with his wife, Melissa, and daughter, Wren.

For further reading:

Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 9, No. 4, where "Conversion Blues" ran on January 15, 2010. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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