Jeff Gundy Click to

jgundy-194Jeff Gundy’s sixth book of poems, Somewhere Near Defiance, is forthcoming from Anhinga Press, and a critical book on theopoetics, Songs from an Empty Cage, will appear next year.  Other new poems are in The Sun, Cincinnati Review, The Kenyon Review and Nimrod.  An essay based on his time as a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Salzburg is forthcoming in Georgia Review.

if my life is a thread being pulled by a needle . . .

If the chimes of freedom flash like the flash that caught you
half a mile from home last night, still circling the quarry,

wondering suddenly where the ducks and geese find shelter . . .
All you knew was to keep going, let the needle in your head

pull you onward, sweaty and puffing again, lucky, keeping
the pace you can, almost too fast, hoping to get lost in the music

or your worries and forget for a while the labor and sweat
and small pains, heel, knee, ankle, the swing of arm, thud,

thud on pavement, just keep on, follow the pull toward
the next turn, the next familiar street, forget the thunder

or wait for it after the flash, feel the breeze and know the storm
will find you if it chooses, wind in your face or not, let it go,

the rain is cool and the shirt is wet already with your hot sweat,
too late to slow down, too soon to think of home, cross

the steel bridge and take the little rise up Spring Street, pass
the small familiar homes like a silent crowd, like people sleeping

in the pews, left on Elm to the Catholic church, good people
filing in to sing and pray but you must go on, right on Lawn,

you know what pulls you now, you know this last long street,
the time is good, the legs are weary but they bear you on,

your heart is firm and strong, the air sweeps in and out
of your open, deep, and secret lungs and somehow still

your blood takes what it needs and gives the rest away.


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