The Journal Petra

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Marc Rahe


I will fall asleep but wake in the same
mind. There was a boot print dirt
patterned on a jacket I found at a bargain.
I would like to become so eloquent.

There is much diction beyond me;
admissible details in the kitchen
fixtures. Features. Geese
in formation lower toward the river

to follow, but then not to land. Is parallel
what those reflections are?
It's the quality of vision — flicker
fusion threshold — that enables

the hawk to strike at that speed,
how the frames need to advance
only so fast for the illusion.


I was thankful for opportunity
but, lacking, I awaited the loss
of my means. I examined

my lacking, and dwelled
on it. I held my lacking in

mind like a light I could breathe
and freeze. I took the heat
from my lacking and sculpted

the remains of lacking,
what was left inside me.

I made eagle wings, a stairway,
seven stars in the shape
of a dragon from a tale

of dragon's devotion
to maiden. I sculpted

from lacking a devastation
of the land, and the development
of a fountain of blight.

Therein, a bleak foundation;
it was a pale light.

Without, the heat: soft frenzy
dispersing my devisable breath.

Election Cycle

The morning sun is beautiful. Its light,
I mean, reflected from the leaves about

to fall and the blood fresh beneath our mouths,
and here is a crow undoing a Hefty bag.

Over there is a birdhouse
near a birdfeeder in a lawn we own,

if paying for means that, and we have,
in our heart, enacted caring

in the exchange of paper and metal
money for a bag of seed

we'll never lay before anyone we love
that has the words thank you,

uncommon in the speech of birds.
We made the house with tools and hands

we would describe as our own, if.

Funeral Rose

I clumsily touch
with my twisted joints
and bones. These two
fingers like a satyr's legs
in a natural dance
on your garden.

Tonight it will not snow
despite the season's usual desire.
This afternoon fog hid
the sky and the lake and the shore.
Only the solid line of the bridge
was visible — a guide
from a story of the underworld.

How could my spirit rest
in a coffin with my head
so lonely on that cushion?
Possessing nothing
but a strength born of urgency,
how could my spirit become
a horn to sound its sigh-less
position, or a horn to pry
a lid, to lift it
like a leg?

Marc Rahe is the author of The Smaller Half (Rescue Press, 2010) and On Hours (Rescue Press, 2015). His poems have appeared in jubilat, MAKE, PEN Poetry Series, and elsewhere. Marc lives in Iowa City and works for a human service agency.