Bruce Bond


Listen to Bruce Bond read his piece:

 for Hannah Arendt

The day the jet entered the building’s mirror
to nail its version of heaven to the sky,
the smoke that lingered asked, is this it,

not paradise, but some vision of it
reaching back to pull us through the fire.
Make yourself useful, my father told me,

and I loved him with a love that was
no project. It seemed odd, how the imperfect
end all too perfectly in what they fear

no more. Sit still, my mother told me,
and sunlight bled through the great rose window.
It scared me, the thought of salvation.

What is it to nail your own convictions
to a church door, if only to look back
at this thing you call your life. But it is not life.

Does it come as some relief, to see
your name dissipate the way rain must,
and will, or our mothers with their song.

Terror’s pilots never learned to land.
Did they too look back at their lives
as they approached them in the mirror.

The world’s end reflects us all, naturally,
we who plan our retirements with an eye
to small comforts, debts, a minimum of stairs.

I believed early on death was invented
to press questions made more rewarding
without answers. I ask my work daily,

what, in the end, is the use of use.
When I look at the dead still photo
of my father, I do not see him. Not yet.

Begin again, says the brittle winter
dawn. Which for the moment is enough.
Day’s honey pouring through the glass.

Bruce Bond is the author of nine published books of poetry, most recently Choir of the Wells: A Tetralogy (Etruscan, 2013), The Visible (LSU, 2012), Peal (Etruscan, 2009), and Blind Rain (LSU, 2008). His books The Other Sky (poems in collaboration with the painter Aron Wiesenfeld, Etruscan), For the Lost Cathedral (LSU), and Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (University of Michigan) are forthcoming. He is a Regents Professor of English at the University of North Texas and Poetry Editor for American Literary Review.
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    Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí