Ace Boggess is author of three books of poetry, most recently Ultra
Deep Field (Brick Road, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody
(Hyperborea, 2016). His poems have appeared in River Styx, Harvard
Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, and many other journals. He
lives in Charleston, West Virginia.
“Have You Already Arranged a Funeral in Advance?”
—funeral home questionnaire
Who thinks about midnight at 11:59?
Hard to believe in what hasn’t happened yet.
It’s like divorce: not finalized until the judge
says yes & signs, dividing the furniture,
kids, cars, CDs, land. I won’t be there
when my box—my blackacre—
might be a birdhouse on the mausoleum lawn.
I prefer what’s in front of me:
pen, page, the lover of my dreams
who dreams me, too, though reckless.
Give me 11:59 forever. Let me
cling to it like a cloud that passes slowly,
motion denied by illusion of stability.
I’m not counting forward in my head.
“If You Were a Bird, from What
Would You Make Your Nest?”
~question asked by Grace Welch~
cushioned ball bats, branches covered in bubble wrap:
arms. soft lines, crooked elbows, forms attached—
women & men, I’m not picky when it comes to comfort-skin.
I want to rest in a cradle of touch.
I sometimes wish for a punch so I might feel
connected. if I slept with arms beneath my neck & back,
my thighs, scratching the itch at my ankle,
teasing the notch at my knee,
I’d be a happy little zebra finch,
lifting my head under morning light to sing.
I drive her on a journey to New Vrindaban
to see the Golden Temple, gardens, Krishna shrine.
She wants to look at peacocks & the swan.
We set out in the a.m. before dawn,
directions leading north, a jagged line
for our journey to New Vrindaban.
She’d like to feed a heifer, but it lazes with a yawn.
It has its private bale of hay to mine.
At least she spots the peacocks & the swan.
Then we follow West Virginia’s winding Autobahn
to tour a broken palace less Divine
beyond our journey to New Vrindaban:
the state pen—gothic, closed, the guilty gone—
where Charles Manson’s mother walked the line.
My love preferred the peacocks & the swan.
Dark cells & bars meant more to an ex-con
than to her as if for me a holy shine
on our day’s journey to New Vrindaban
where peacocks lit the grass & teased the swan.