DAY 5 (SUNDAY): LAY THOU THY BASIS SURE
Here’s the problem: the day and hour are bright.
Sunlight, outside the window, as it falls through
the remaining leaves of silver maples and tulip poplars,
dapples onto the garden grass. The house is quiet
except for the cadenced breathing of the boys
at their afternoon sleep. Can I imagine today
neighbors’ names added to a list? Imagine
today the bit in the mouth of the horse arrayed
to drag the carcass outside the city wall? Imagine
the ink of my own name soaking into paper, drying
in the instant of the last pen slash downward?
All the books I have read prepared me for this:
I sit with my wife on the couch, our sons between,
our arms like wings draped on the boys’ downy shoulders.
From here, we end or we end: the watching and waiting
for the terrible moment—awed by the Leonid shower
of shattering glass, the artful splinter of pressure-
treated pine around the hinge, the scuff and polish
above a steel-toe—or the rising and standing up, the walking
through the threshold to look into the livid capillaries
of an eye, to meet what we must meet, no matter the dark
shine of the hour, no matter the narrow passage of the street.
Iain Haley Pollock’s first collection of poems, Spit Back a Boy, won the 2010 Cave Canem Prize. Poems from this collection have been anthologized in A Face to Meet the Faces: an Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry (2012) and Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation (2015). He teaches English at Rye Country Day School in Rye, NY, and is a member of the poetry faculty at the Solstice MFA program of Pine Manor College.