The Boiler

Bruce Bond



We all walk on water, now and then,
though it takes the eyes of wells to see it.
When a man’s sleep breaks in half, he steps
drunkenly across the blackened surface.
Father, are you there.  Can you answer.
Forever a depth that sings beneath our feet.


Not that he expected a reply, not yet.
But something in the spirit of the question
as it dug its oracle, its grave, its worldly
passage, saw the art of it, not in the hole,
but in the earth that flew upon the surface.


Then he cast aside his shovel and asked
the pit, if each instant is a still place,
and the day ahead is made of them,
how is it the heart’s arrow ever moves.
And the hole said nothing.  He waited,
it waited, and in the silent space
he smelled something of the earth going
through him, without mercy, malice, or end.


And so it came, the water, and as it rose
and the man leaned a little closer
to see what night had left there,
his stare became a hole in the surface,
as if that were what a man is, what
a world is not, so says the hole, the ice
of the mirror he shatters as he drinks.


Bruce Bond’s most recent and forthcoming collections of poetry include Choir of the Wells (A tetralogy of newbooks; Etruscan Press, 2013), The Visible (LSU, 2012), Peal (Etruscan, 2009), and Blind Rain (Finalist, The Poet’s Prize, LSU, 2008). Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at the University of North Texas and Poetry Editor for American Literary Review.