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Fred Marchant

Fred Marchant is the author of four poetry collections: The Looking House (Graywolf Press, 2009); House on Water, House in Air (Dedalus Press, 2002); Full Moon Boat (Graywolf Press, 2000); and Tipping Point (The Word Works, 1993), winner of the 1993 Washington Prize. His honors also include a Commemoration Medal for the Advancement of the Arts and Literature in Vietnam. He is professor emeritus of English at Suffolk University.

By This Poet

2

The Drum Room

The door you come through slams shut before the door you go to opens.
A last stopping place, a once-over from the guard behind his tinted glass.
Your pockets are empty, wristwatch in the locker, with wallet and change. 
Two pens, a notebook, a wish to act normal, and show you threaten no one. 
It is completely true that you threaten no one. 
Nonetheless you feel either you are in danger, or that you are the danger. 
It is a retort designed not to contain, but open and shut like a valve. 
A space between entrance and egress, pressure and release. 
A moment of pure supplication, a revelation of true marrow and meaning: 
hiatus: opening, rupture, fissure, gap.
A room close to nothing, the reinforced shell of its nothing.
Who here cannot help but think of a plump fly bumping against a window?	
A fly who believes something will give. Something does.  
A buzzer, then juice through the wire, and the latches slide in, slide out.

Here is what the mind does

when my laptop opens to a small red car
a tight street in Jenin gray-yellow dust
an electric window half-open and five
lean-to cards where on each a number
denotes a round spent or the place where
it began to travel at the speed of its idea
while by an open car door the blood pools
pools and follows a tilt in the road—not
far—more a lingering as if blood could
choose not to leave could hang around
be curious and puzzled like the children
who stop to watch the men who have duties
do them as quickly as they can in a slow
reluctant and deliberate picking through
which is what the mind does at moments
like this—really little more than nothing