Nathan McClain

On My First Son

My dearest rib, if
   with the ear

nested in the center
   of the heart, you list-

en, somewhere within me, too,
   a city is blank-

eted in flakes of ash,
   and a flock of geese

cleave the cool winter
   sky with the ease

of a scalpel.
   The geese overhead seem

to honk where
   art thou? And I answer

“here, Lord, in the garden,
   where nothing lives,” without thinking.

I have buried the last plum pit
   in the softest earth.

I have pitched the wadded
   napkin—spotted with wine

from a small sack lunch—over
   my shoulder, on which

was written your heart
   is a draft, a small imperfect-

ion. Or, your heart weighs
   more than can be steadied

with nails—a greased
   and slippery thing.
I forget,

after wavering long above
   this pond, which offers

mud and dead fish as my reflection.
   I forget who has left me

to carry this heavy
   fist wrapped in blood, inside

this plastic blue
 bucket which, packed in ice or salt,

is thrumming still.

Nathan McClain currently lives and works in Los Angeles. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Columbia Poetry Review, Cave Wall, Nimrod, DIAGRAM, Pebble Lake Review and Best New Poets 2010. He is currently an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College.