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    a tumbleweed in a desert landscape

    By the Lights of Brush and Night

    Two poems about illumination

    John Poch

    June 16, 2020
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    Brush

    –Exodus 3:2

    What kind of brush or tumbleweed –
    that burning bush before the fire?
    Afterward, it did not bleed
    or smoke or sing with a holy choir
    of yellow birds. Its leaves decreed
    I am departed, an unlit pyre,
    a dull cross-hatch of ancient tweed,
    the chaos of some old barbed wire
    rusting. Then wind cast wide the seed
    to paint the desert’s green desire.

    Nightlight

    Our child wakes in the middle of the night.
    Still half asleep we ask who? what? unaware,
    where until now dreams let us rest from light.

    We hear like prophecy a whisper, finite,
    the creak of a mortal footstep on the stair
    our child wakes in the middle of the night.

    Our eyes adjust. We fear the recondite,
    the child coming down with something, despair
    where until now dreams let us rest. By the light

    of streetlamp, moon, and stars, we rise to right
    what’s wrong, but feel so helpless, this nightmare
    our child wakes to. In the middle of the night

    at first it seemed a thief had come, but quite
    the opposite, we offer up our care
    where until now dreams let us rest. With light

    and cries the Christ-child wakes us, too, his might
    the fragile kind, the answer to our prayer.
    Our child wakes in the middle of the night
    where until now dreams let us rest from light.

    a tumbleweed in a desert landscape
    Contributed By

    John Poch’s poems have been published in Paris Review Poetry, Yale Review, and Agni. His most recent book, Texases, was published by WordFarm in 2019. He teaches in the English Department at Texas Tech University.

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