In The Dustlight, Listen


Tonight the trees are paper
nuns leaning over fox bones.

And you’re still here.

Near the railroad cars.
Near the shallow hillside.

Your hands just as thin as they always were.



Give me your glass-eyed stare, Father —
ask me if these stars have any use at all.

Tonight, we are just as designed for flight
as a rhythm of sparrows, our wings severed

in the dustlight. Listen:

your nest is bleeding.



Why does your child mistake the chapel
            for a mound of bones, dark as it is?

Nothing moves except the birds. And the birds,

                                                     so silent – I doubt
                                                     they are even here.


Derek Graf's poems have appeared in The Boiler Journal, Radar Poetry, and Josephine Quarterly. His chapbook, What the Dying Man Asked Me, is forthcoming from ELJ Publications in 2015.