Fall 2012, Volume 13

Poetry by Anton Frost


from a half-acre away
across the clearing & into the pines a little,

the sound & the image begin to separate—

you hammering the post back into the ground
at the end of the palings

& the chock of the sledge
as the thin, blue air cracks open
like dry ground.

i want to call out,
telling you that there is not so much
as we supposed

between us,
but you arc & level the sledgehammer
so well
and the sound comes so late
so almost purple

that i keep quiet.

the stream burbles down into the trees.
the whole forest & all of the field
sigh, daydream.

a half-minute at a time, the cold blue-gray water
descends harp-like
into something like me.

the treetops move,
leaves pulling light
out of thin air.

you swing & swing
& swing.

the vision
then the pang.

i keep quiet because
everything has its own space,
& i have mine.

watching you i realize i'm not thinking,
but remembering.

blue, blue.
the whole world is here.

as the water is carried
away from me,

as you pull back
for one more blow to the post,

as somewhere a harp sits in a half-lit corner
of an empty house,

as i want, want,
to call out to tell you these things,

i feel the edge of a shape in me
like light flitting deep in the trees,

there is no stop to any of it.

Straight Line

Is nothing sacred?

Sun-up & all I have touched
has sunk into the water.

Far away, a mountain shimmers,
& is it raining between here & there?

A few horses run quickly over the field,
not running from
but out-running everything.

Fruit is falling.
The sun is a fat yellow balloon.
Have you let it go
or have I?

The compass closes up
like paper in a fire,

a shovel that has been stuck upright
in the dirt
falls over.

There is a stone blade
& an empty paper pad
sitting in the shade of an old tree.

I am stabbing into the earth
with a stick.

A stream lies nearby,
just out of sight
& very hard to hear.

Knowing it is there

A small stone I once threw
a straight line thru the dust,

the imaginary line
between one star & another there in the dust,

the dust that the mountain hovered over
& touched eventually
with its shadow.

The air dances,
the tree-line throws dead animals
into the field.

The spaces between hills are where my life
has gone.

Yes, nothing is sacred.

how it ends

somewhere in my mind
a little girl is on a swing, saying
i can't wait, but i will.

who is she?

and somewhere else,
a man gets off a train alone
just as the rain stops
and the skyscrapers pull their wet shadows
off each other.

i sigh. it turns into a yawn.
it turns into sadness.

this is a poem—
this never happens.  
or rather, it's something that only seems to happen.
so don't worry.
it's practically harmless.

it should probably end:
nothing is certain, but everything is familiar.

but it won't.  it will end:
"forget it," i say.

i have a crystal ball
called Manhattan
in my head

and over and over,
this is all it shows.

maybe i should have begun this by saying
nothing can enter the source.

maybe it would have changed things?

too late, too late.

i sigh. how is it that everything
is  best defined as not everything,

that i can say tulips go walking by
& the sound of rain at that moment would tear me apart
with the feeling of everything
that might mean?

are shapes ultimately momentum?
is there no going back?

is it possible to be correct,
all the way through?
to say nothing ever ends,
because it never began?

i should have started this by saying
a crane like the name of a city
flies low and wide over the water

but i've seen a crane do that
and all it did was disappear.

so what?

i want everything.
more than anything.

i sigh.  i am cosmically tired.
i float, seemingly.

i take train rides and watch the land slide away.
it's best when it rains,
the water streaking back.

it's best
entering a city on the rails,
you want to add yourself to everything.

in the train, people look around carefully.
they are afraid to wonder,
to be exposed as wonderers.

how is it anyone can find the courage
to touch the fabric of a curtain,
to part their lips slightly
when someone may be watching?

i think the cynic is the most feared
person on earth.

i sigh. i wonder how much of my life is spent sighing.
i wonder how much of my life is pure life,
whatever that is.

ho hum.

i get off the train alone,
just as the rain stops.
you'd think something special lay in that,
but not so.

the skyscrapers help each other out
of their shadows,
talking and laughing about what they've just gone through.

at the crosswalk a crowd gathers,
i can't wait, but i will.

the train pulls away and i think,
a lightning bolt slows down
and fills with people.

i like the way it sounds,
so i turn to somebody and say

slows down
with people."

she looks at me and says

the light turns green.

"forget it," i say.


you've fallen asleep thinking there is no answer to some questions,
just a decision that leaves them behind.
then you wake up.

a little more

you've probably been stored by now,
lifted off the blanket they put down
for you to lie on
at last,

put in a shelf or a box,
your tongue still half out your mouth
& your eyes still empty half-moons.

you looked into my eyes
& i helped you lie down,
wobbling from the sedative.

a little more than four thousand days,
now covered with snow.

that small room
where i held your head,

we were
both there
& not there.

it seems wrong, a mistake has been made
that i left the place,
shut the door
& left you alone there,
though you were already gone.

it seems wrong
to close doors,

to play music,
to have light.

my sister, my father, my mother
i did not weep.

i had earlier,
sitting with you in the sun.

it seems wrong.
how lonesome you are needs to pass.

to have not left you alone
is what i need.

your small white form waiting,
entering the flames.

send me her ashes,
i told them.

holding you again,
the white all gone.

a mistake has been made.

i am weeping





BIO: Anton Frost is a poet living in Grand Haven, Michigan.