A vacant hour
before the sun—
and with it a valve's 
pneumatic hush,
the deep and nautical
clunk of wood,
chanson du ricochet
of rivet gun,
trowel tap,
and bolt drawn—

the moon sets
and water breaks.

Curled within
a warm pleroma,
playing for time,
you finally turn
and push your face
toward November's 
glint of frost,
grains of salt,
weak clarities 
of dawn.

More by Devin Johnston

Fixed Interval

When he turns fifteen, you'll be fifty-four.
When he turns thirty, you'll be sixty-nine.
This plain arithmetic amazes more
than miracle, the constant difference more
than mere recursion of father in son.
If you reach eighty, he'll be forty-one!

The same sun wheels around again, the dawn
drawn out and hammered thin as a copper sheet.
When he turns sixty you'll be gone.
Compacted mud, annealed by summer heat,
two ruts incise this ghost-forsaken plain
and keep their track width, never to part or meet.

The Restorer

Done with mortise and tenon,
linseed oil and wax,
she stands back from the highboy
to snap a photograph with her phone,
all the while, defending a shim
to absent interlocutors
who have, admittedly, 
never seen her work	
and died three hundred years ago.

Related Poems

Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm

So that each
is its own, now—each has fallen, blond stillness.
Closer, above them,
the damselflies pass as they would over water, 
if the fruit were water,
or as bees would, if they weren't
somewhere else, had the fruit found
already a point more steep
in rot, as soon it must, if
none shall lift it from the grass whose damp only 
softens further those parts where flesh
goes soft.

There are those
whom no amount of patience looks likely
to improve ever, I always said, meaning
gift is random, 
assigned here, 
here withheld—almost always
correctly
as it's turned out: how your hands clear
easily the wreckage;
how you stand—like a building for a time condemned,
then deemed historic. Yes. You
will be saved.