"But first, baby, as you climb and count the stairs (and they total the same), did you, sometime or somewhere, have a different idea?
Is this, baby, what you were born to feel, and do, and be?"

-Kenneth Fearing

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Last Word

The argument was over,
The one they couldn't exit,
although it had all been said.

He couldn't budge if he’d wanted to
couldn't hold forgiveness in his hand,
or pull peace from betrayal.

They were young and in love,
They were fierce and mean about it,
and it was too much for either, finally.

Over now, the buzzing that kept them
repeating, kept them from sleeping,
from feeling like going home.

They hoped it would break, the undertow,
break into waves and let them float
there, still, and take a breath.

She wanted to call out, but didn't.
She wanted to touch him, as if just this once
she could be Christ to his Lazarus,

but she knew that was only a story
and only then, what a terrible story.

His voice had turned to weight.

-Brent Allard

Monday, April 29, 2013


Your brother had his throat cut,
one night in Hardin, Kentucky.
No one was surprised, except
that it took so long. It was

practically natural causes, although
they couldn’t write that down.
He built hatred, your brother,
every day that he’d been alive.

You were there for most of it,
and had to pay that freight.
What he brought out in you,
nearly killed you, like William,

that night he “fell” out of the car,
Only your drunkenness kept them
from calling it murder. “Manslaughter,”
they ruled, as if a kinder word.

You served the time together and no one ever knew
what really happened. It stayed in the car. The truth
sending out a whispered story to take its place, always
the next thing mentioned after the loud razor fights,

that sent your kids scurrying under the beds.
Was it the night he left you on the train tracks
and you were only saved by being passed out
cold and loose, when the train bumped you off?

Maybe it was all these things, and others
you never told, just knowing what he was
as only a bastard’s brother ever could,
or knowing what you were. Standing next to him,

lit that ember bright, the one you tried to dim.
You distanced yourself, fixed your lawnmowers,
carved figures out of peach pits, embraced
the sweeter part of your disposition,

that part that always knew how lost you were.
Maybe the drinking saved you, cooling that glow
for those decades, or maybe it finally killed you.
Maybe there’s less difference than I’d like.

-Brent Allard

Thursday, January 17, 2013

For a Captive Audience

The loss of one man is another man’s family, 
they never said directly. The party said it for them.
New church friends exclaimed with cheese and crackers.

God, they were loud and so happy, that gathering
of the holy. For a moment, they focused on me. "Say church."
they insisted, until I said, "chowch." not getting yet

how the accent I carried made it all so entertaining.
They watched the Capuchin monkey, dancing tuneless,
and unpaid, and laughed a long time before chatter resumed.

“You’re lucky he’s so young...” said hushed voice Ethel,
“He won't remember what happened."
My mother agreed, and went over the details again.

-Brent Allard