Sydney Lea: “Ghost Pain” (excerpt)


This poem from the Winter 2003-04 issue of Image Journal is too long to reprint here, but here is a characteristically lovely excerpt:

A dear friend down south has gone;
his church’s prayer chain couldn’t hold him.
Not this time. People die.

The stars outdoors are sharp as razors,
and Orion the Hunter huge and bold above 
   the river—
as if he could send an arrow flying right 
   through us here.
All manner of things fly through the no-fly zone
elsewhere, the homeless huddle under cardboard,
all the brutal rest, and no, since you inquire,

we can’t account for it. It’s Pearl Harbor Day,
hours of light down to nine, to fewer.
If God be for me, whom then shall I fear?
Easy enough to say, the mockers might say, 
   from in here.
I might be out there among them
were the world not served,

we have to believe, in there being
one more safe tiny place amid the 
   great unsafe.

Read the whole poem here, and visit Image’s artist page on Lea, the editor of the New England Review, here.

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