Marc J. Frazier

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MARC J. FRAZIER has appeared in The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Ascent, Permafrost, Plainsongs, Poet Lore, Rhino, among many others. He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and the author of The Way Here, a full-length poetry collection and two chapbooks. His second full-length collection, Each Thing Touches, is from Glass Lyre Press, 2015. Visit


Over a Dark Lake
—alternating lines from The Man with Night Sweats and Little Gidding without edits or additions


I was delivered into time again come forth into sun as if without a past

in the dark time of the year I think of Oedipus, old, led by a boy in windless cold

the brief sun flames the ice on pond and ditches my flesh was its own shield:

where it was gashed it healed now the hedgerow is blanched for an hour

with transitory blossom of snow the smooth red body of a young madrone

the brown hillside where light grows and fades

the sound of the voice praying now you are a bag of ash

scattered on a coastal ridge all the ash burnt roses leave


of course the dead outnumber us—how their
recruiting armies grow! there is no earth smell
or smell of living thing how can I continue
I asked? when I left my body on a distant shore
the year of grief being through (a shell, a husk
of meaning) the peace of trees that all night whisper
nothings but heard half heard in the stillness
between two waves of the sea

could that be what it meant?
this is the death of water and fire


as if hands were enough to hold an avalanche off it would be the same at the end of the journey if you came at night like a broken king dark as a gypsy, berry-brown with dirt

tender loin and glands delicate almost as eyeballs a bloom more sudden than that of summer neither buddingnor fading his genitals as neat as a stone acorn with its two oak
leaves and what the dead had no speech for when living or side by side and touching at the hips as if we were two trees bough grazing bough tongued with fire beyond the

language of the living repeated all day through in the sexual longings of the spring all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.