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Clade Song 4


Everywhere one finds evidence of heaven’s shipwreck on earth. The gold tooth of a prostitute. One daffodil below the guard tower.
Tonight, because I love you, the lake hangs its mirrors over the rooftops. Space is flowing out from the houses. No one has died for centuries.
In the airport of a foreign city I felt as though someone were coming to greet me. Someone I would recognize. The lost father or myself from a different life.

Don’t be afraid, she said, all of this is for you. The window in the center of the earth and its little gravity box. The persimmon tree and its angel. Though you may not see it until you are something else entirely.

I wore the universe close around me, pulled in to the shape of my body. When I walked the language trembled. My idea of a lotus sprouted from my idea of mud.
For years I lived in a house that hadn’t been built. A house of windows.
I fell from a bicycle as gracefully as I could because my daughter was watching.

Leave the bark on the door. Leave the river in the water, the field in the bread!
An artist wasn’t ready to die
cast a bronze sculpture of grass furious in wind. The purples
of late summer moved over the bronze and over the noble
undying will, the will undying in the dying grass.
When we got to heaven out of habit we began building churches
in secret so as not to offend god god god told us our altars and prayers were symptoms of a lack of faith. What need have we of churches in heaven? And his voice sounded like the ringing of a bell.

Chad Sweeney Chad Sweeney is a poet and translator. He is the author of four books of poetry, Parable of Hide and Seek (Alice James, 2010), Wolf's Milk: Lost Poems of Juan Sweeney (Forklift, 2012, bilingual English/Spanish). Arranging the Blaze (Anhinga, 2009), and An Architecture (BlazeVox, 2007) and the forthcoming White Martini of the Apocalypse from Marick Press. He is the translator (from the Persian, with Mojdeh Marashi) of The Selected Poems of H.E. Sayeh:The Art of Stepping Through Time (White Pine, 2011). Sweeney edited the anthology Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds: the Teachers of WritersCorps in Poetry and Prose (CityLights, 2009) and is the editor of Ghost Town, the print and on-line journal of contemporary poetry at CSUSB. Chad’s poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2008, The Pushcart Prize Anthology 2012, American Poetry Review, Black Warrior, New American Writing, Colorado Review, Denver Qtly, Verse, Volt, Barrow Street and The Writers Almanac. He holds a PhD in English from Western Michigan University and an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. He teaches poetry in the MFA program at California State University, San Bernardino, and lives in Redlands, California with his wife, poet Jennifer K. Sweeney, and their sons, Liam and Forest.