by Brian McCabe


It was the autumn I thought, “only the world
could possibly be more thorough.”

Wrens were mere wrens, the days had meaning
in moments so brief I forget being in.

I stood in a house in the dumb afternoon
and did not speak. I dragged a chair

across the room toward another month
and the window’s linden evolved like debris.

The same lines kept repeating— dusk falls
earlier, branches dissolve in darkness

always something caught, and singular
and turning toward away. That first night

a thrush through pines lightened with the dark.
The second the eaves died singing.

At some point late seeped into light
and the nothing winter conceals itself with

made a wide field into what?  I wanted to know
what it knew and I didn’t.  Wanted to follow

the hollow in the wake of each thing.
To hold the air there how air holds cold.

I didn’t want to write, but couldn’t stop.
Each silence opened a sky in my chest.


Narcissus’s Apartment*

There are two mirrors:
one is freedom’s, one is freedom’s

Between the two the day is tall and wide

In the actual window
in the blue green dreams itself from

there is a question
The answer appears in the TV’s black screen:

my reflection more real than my body
The nothing I do for freedom


One says yes, yes says no
The others are mutually mute

Like a liked photo you are
waving back at me like ache

In the photo you are laughing.
In the background the day is wide and tall

Look, I’m building nothing
Which is silence, which is understanding

The nothing I do for freedom
The life my life returns

*Editors’ Note – In Brian’s original version of this poem, the stanzas appeared in two opposing columns with the intention to read the poem from top to bottom or left to right, providing different readings, refractions; a mirroring effect. We apologize for the limitations of our site here, and urge readers to experience the poem both ways.


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels