Poems from Evan Fowler’s “Seeing Thing”


I stand by a pond that reflects
the golden light of late morning;
my feet hang from the sky.

Two men are swimming frantically toward me
yelling with throats full of water
desperate to tell me something

but I am in the British Museum
now and can’t help them. Looking at
a model of the Titanic

I think of them in the other room
of the dream, choking
on cold foam. Should I go back?

The new metal used in the new
unsinkable Titanic is admirable, steel
lighter than a cloud.  It’s darker here,

marmoreal, chill. They are still
screaming. The sun will set at noon.
Maybe that’s what they want to say.


Morning light swims almost through
her bones of milky porcelain,
springy and delicate as a shrimp’s coat,
not entirely out of sight or in,

and the skin above them seems to float on glass:
if she moves her edges glint
like something far-off moving fast.
She watched tv all night, blue candle-light.

Hiding out with her are the most-distant movie stars,
the ones about to vanish just from being far away,
who know every secret centimeter
to and from today.

By their light, in her true form
she dances further from death’s reach
in a stealthy all-the-time routine
on her remotest, inmost beach.

If discovered she would surely be
imprisoned as a Barnum property,
but here she’s safe as a Christmas-tree bulb in June,
no one even looking for the box.

I bring a small breakfast and less talk.
She is grand in her wave-soft chair
dancing with memory, and for love
I never let on that I see.

Age of Discovery

For years I thought you off somewhere 
flowering from the farthest branch,
breathing just now, yesterday happy or sad,
learning all of age’s jokes are bad,

displaced but humming away
sure as a sewing machine slowly running
out of thread.  Now the latest report
is, you are dead, dead so long

little remains, your profile gone
from anywhere outside this crayon map.
I used up twenty boxes to show how  
things are. All useless now.

On the map you’re still OK, supposed
to stay like Eden —there, just closed.
But now I can’t tell what’s land or water,
where great Persia lies, where my own border.

Everywhere is an empty Quarter.
I’ll fill the blank space with armed angels as warning:
back off, stay out, nothing known,
every explorer died alone.

Fairy-Tale Ending

There’s the house the screams ran out of,
and the dumpster where the body lies.
A drone shot shows how pretty all this looks 
from high up in the black skies.

From even higher, an all-white surround:
pale squares on paler ground,
wooded plots the size of a pill,
blue shadows, clots.  And from higher still

just stringy roads tossed out
like a crazed hydra-head
grasping fast-food pixels blue and red.
Not a minute now for doubt:

straighten up, comb and clean,
grab some doughnuts and skip town.
All’s quiet as Mom in her Christmas gown,
but from the edges of this midwest dream

it’s screams, screams all the way down,
and the road buckles beneath the weight
of their titanic power and fear.
Never ever has it been so late!

Love or death NOW, and far from here.
One turns the dial, searching for
the perfect score,, and the other
suddenly vomits on the floor.

Image: Papierlaternen-Fabrik Riethmüller, Artist: Anonymous, Date: ca. 1880, Chromolithograph, Metropolitan Museum, PD Worldwide

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