Francis Raven

June 28

Set piece: laughter, Noah kicking on top of the picnic table.
I’m jumping in the water, but it’s colder than the day before.
I have my suit on
And there’s a picture from yesterday
That captures it better, better than it could be captured
In the moment. Something is probably eaten, a potato chip, a chicken wing;
No, not a chicken wing, but I’m sure somebody drank something.
There were more diet colas than you could imagine.
A little bit of sun meant that there were too many big personalities clashing.
She let her sister ride in the car to avoid confrontation,
But left the confrontation in the murmurs. We walked my father to the bathroom.
He walked slowly and with a limp, but an operation a few years prior
Had made everything hurt less. We were coming together, trying to, jumping up,
Letting Noah see what falls.

July 2

The first day, you see a pony with your son
And you think about swimming.
You know you’re being eaten alive,
But you assume that it can’t bother you.
There is, of course, just too much pressure
On each pine needle
And they each, individually, snap.
The bird almost hits the ground on his venture towards food,
But not quite; we swerve up, let the letting.
There is less that can be done now.
It’s okay, it’s okay for less to be done.
By the second day you’re not thinking much.
You don’t yet know the name of that bird,
But you think that you will learn it.


Francis Raven’s most recent book includes Architectonic Conjectures (Silenced Press, 2010). Francis lives in Washington DC; you can check out more of his work at his website: