In the Dawn

Ricky Ray

for John Berryman

Nobody in the dawn. It hasn’t yet assembled
 the people in its psalm.
If a voice has no body, does it need an ear?
 Does the blood carry
its own crosses as it flickers in the flesh
 in search of nothing,
the woman it is, a walking yard of graves?
 She is not for loving,
as if love were the sharp tip of purpose
 piercing, cutting away
the civilizations bacteria build on bone.
 But loving does fit in,
if fitting means being strung along an act
 of service: the guitar
talks back to the fingers, the world whispers
 to the living: touch
until the noise and feel coalesce, reveal
 the music made when
strings and fingers lock as lovers
 knocking the headboard
against the wall, a thousand times
 its rhythmic pulse
that gives the hour what it wanted when
 it made the bodies
and made them ache and put them together
 for love or what
might ever come of living in the dawn.

Ricky Ray's recent work may be found in Matador Review, Fugue, Lodestone, Sixfold and Chorus: A Literary Mixtape. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, three cats and a dog; the bed is frequently overcrowded.


  1. Genevieve Pfisterer says:

    yes, exactly.

  2. I love this! Made the bodies, made them ache and out them together for love

  3. I have poem envy.

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