Fall 2016, Volume 21

Poetry by Rich Ives

Elegy for a Young Boy Lost in the Days of War

The dead can rest again.
This one’s been accepted.

Since dawn, in the drifting boat
on top of the soldier’s hat,
a single blue egg.

So the sky stayed home this day and
the drowned boy was alone on the shore.

Once he spoke to the wind. Now
the wind does all the talking.

Then the idea of heaven descended upon him.
It wasn’t his idea. Survivors did it.

Someday, by itself, the door will open
and the house will close. One thrown stone
upon another breaks and becomes earth, but

one lost heart upon another, and
even the frogs repeat the pulse.

So many passages begun and ended
before the water slips through your hands.

What kind of sailor lifts and drinks
the sea? Tonight the endless darkness,
tomorrow, your breath chasing a cloud.

Step off. If the passing sky is really empty,
you will fill it with your absence.

Not all of our speeches will leave us friends
still playing in the dark. By morning the blanket
has been folded over. Speak. You’re theirs.

It’s like trying to grasp the ocean.




BIO: Rich Ives is a winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander and the 2012 winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. His books include Tunneling to the Moon, a book of days with a prose work for each day of the year (Silenced Press), Sharpen, a fiction chapbook, (Newer York Press), Light from a Small Brown Bird, a book of poems, (Bitter Oleander Press), and a story collection, The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking (What Books).