Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-six books including, most recently, Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse, 2018), Plurality and the Poetics of Self (Palgrave, 2019), Words Written Against the Walls of the City (LSU, 2019), and The Calling (Parlor, 2020).  Four books are forthcoming including Behemoth (winner of New Criterion Poetry Prize, Criterion Books) and Patmos (winner of the Juniper Prize, U of MA Press).  Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at the University of North Texas.

The Lost Language 21

If I could talk to an angel I could trust,

I would say, I think you know my friend

who had no stomach for the talking cure.  

If I exorcize my demons, so go my angels,

he said.  Call it a mere figure of speech, 

and you break the glass of figurines 

songs are made of.  It is a figure. There. 

I confess.  I grow weary of these songs

that tear the heart from its closet and wing it 

out so far from earth each singer is alone.  

If I could talk to my friend who had his

demons, I would.  If I could raise the tremor 

of our cups.  (Are you free for breakfast, I 

cannot sleep.)  If I knew how serious it was.  

The Lost Language 36

I read a man who spoke on behalf 

of things that cried out to him and to his 

language to preserve them.  Silly things.

Each longed to be flotsam of the shore 

survivors kneel to read.  Call us readers 

waves then, and every day we pour 

over what remains of one night’s wreck.

We commit our loved ones to the deep 

and endless regress of suns gone down 

and never quite abandoned.  Tell me.  

How credible is any sentiment now, 

laid in stone, without the providence 

of strangers.  How impossible and far

the seagull’s cry without the salt that stings.