Joel Fry

                                                    Daniel Gohman

                                                    Daniel Gohman

My Way Through The Day


A cactus sits on my windowsill

beyond my understanding—green, thorny

and simple to see.  Today I am not a victim

of knee-jerk realism.  The sound

of children playing outside helps me hear

my way through sunlight.  Dogs bark

in the distance.  All the light that breaks

through the clouds tethers to the trees

in my upcast eyes.  When I step outside

barefoot there is no one to remember

or know, no concern to match my leisurely 

stroll down the sidewalk.  I am not an object.

I am a pattern of laughter woven into spring

and summer, born of the wind and the passing

song of a car stereo.  Everyone comes

and goes this way, rippling out from a spiny

center.  I bend the limbs of the crepe myrtle,

slipping bark between my fingers.

My neighbors make their regular stops, 

eat dinner, while mountains wear down to sand.

The Way It Is


You and I are driven to the same sin

from the same source in each of us, a thirst

that will live in others after we’re gone.

We are our appetite as it abides

in our bodies.  It locates us.  Your den is adorned

with bottles—the worst wine from the cheapest

year.  I light up a joint on the patio and stare

into the pattern of dirt that my feet left.

I am my right and my left when we dance.

We love the sleepwalking cycles of the sun

enough to call them ours.  Nightfall comes

and a nation goes to bed.  A hen goes to roost,

a dog circles his kennel, stars shine through

the clouds.  Everything has a way about it,

and that way leads home.  You fry

an omelet for me, for part of me.  I wash

it down with a beer.



The leaves fall and the train runs and I bask

in the life I have already lived.  I never fly

past myself except to return.  Every fiber

of the dogwood grows alert, pressing 

outward through the warmth of a new day.

The frost melts.  My house is cluttered enough

to be lived in.  I watch the world through my 

kitchen window.  The scrubby bushes 

occur in the world but not in history, not among

Cesars and khans, presidents and tycoons.

I look down to see a mole burrowing 

into the dirt.  The ground is more interesting

than the sky.  The cosmos of gravel

and humus reveals me as I peer into the skin

of the earth.  My mind is a molecule floating

in a sea of sound.  Somewhere in a hospital

far away newborn babies get mixed up

but not confused.  Everyone comes home

to the same house.  Summer and winter

only matter to the eyes that see out.

This day is the silence I forget to count.

Joel Fry lives in Athens, Alabama. He has had poetry published in Asheville Poetry Review, Plainsongs, Off the Coast, Eclectica and many other places. He enjoys solitude and much of his work comes out of that solitude. He has a blog called Susurrus Waking (