What Rough Beast | Poem for June 17, 2017

Tom Daley
At the Birthplace of the Founder-Leader

Seven blues and navy.
Their whiskey-colored epaulettes.
Their oversized saucepan caps.
Moon helmets with discreet spoonbills.

Discretion hollows itself out
along the shaky borders.
The homeland casts its shadow
on the bunkers.

Such a device, that might be
carried in a cargo carrier.
Defense is a dedicated trait,
a porkpie combing the putdowns.

They queue and crowd, their gaze
absorbent and bigger than their better
loyalties. Fright is a lecture in the closet
of hope. Courage is a fix

quicker than hurt. People who live
in the situations wrangle their own
jumble. Last resorts define
their own renewables.

Not their master, their vehicle.
Not their platform, their God Bless.
Their fall into the ways and means
of fission. Of downpour cats and dogs.


Tom Daley is the author of House You Cannot Reach—Poems in the Voice of My Mother and Other Poems (FutureCycle Press, 2015). His poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, Massachusetts Review, 32 Poems, Fence, Denver Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Barrow Street, Prairie Schooner, Witness, Poetry Ireland Review, and other journals, as well as in the anthologies Hacks: Ten Years on Grub Street (Random House, 2007); Poets for Haiti (Yileen Press, 2010); The Body Electric (CreateSpace, 2013); and Luminous Echoes (Into the Void, 2017). He leads writing workshops in the Boston area and online for poets and writers working in creative prose.

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