Noah Burton

All is bright

As for me, I say the sun
and the gong in my mother's
galley kitchen rings flat.
I talk to my life like the light
debates the dark—I can't see
the chimney flue. I can see
the chimney flue. At the foot
of my life there was a bell
ringing over an ant hill.
If you sit in the saddle
the horse will carry your
change. Hard tack in your
back pockets. The hare
twaddling by the brook.
A few deciduous larches
smack each other. At the table
in the tavern an empty glass
falls over and I gasp, shrug.

Differing Schedules

The nimble diver with his tank
cuts the waves like conversations,
walks on the shore peeling seaweed

off his shoulder. We are all cutting,
says the school of fish. There is but joy
and grief, man, and sweet days that struggle

to stay like olive oil and balsamic vinegar
together. Was there ever a grief like yours,
small bi-plane large up in the beached sky?

The houses below, always furnished and swept
weekly, dents of heels bowing the maple strips.
Always an article: jeans or socks, sandals,

under one sun and sand webbed window.
It is not God himself watching the rentals
but some local like him walking

her Australian sheep dog and asked
again through the phone on her cabinet
how she is doing, fine, she says.

Noah Burton's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Sundog Lit, Yes Poetry, Paperbag, Outlook Springs, among others. He is a recipient of the 2015 Dick Shea Memorial Prize in Poetry judged by Tanya Larkin. Noah lives in New Hampshire, where he works at a burrito shop, adjuncts at local colleges, and plays in the occasional band/perpetual solo project, House of 1000 Sports Cars. More at