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Robert Fanning

Robert Fanning

Robert Fanning is the author of American Prophet (Marick Press, 2009), The Seed Thieves (Marick Press, 2006) and Old Bright Wheel (Ledge Press Poetry Award, 2003). His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, The Atlanta Review and other journals. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Sarah Lawrence College, he is now Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Central Michigan University. He lives in Mt. Pleasant, MI with his wife, sculptor Denise Whitebread Fanning and their two children.

On Learning I Should Have Been a Twin

                                                                So my whole. So the one-wing wobble
of my life. So my skyward eye.
                                                                                 So mouth of my sea, the one
God flushed out, my red river going.
                                                                        My stray thread. Pull in my sleeve.
So hole in day my night
                                                                             shows through. My silent letter.
So face of a girl in a far window.
                                                                        So sparrow flown straight through.
So half a soul. A boy singing himself
                                                                                              to sleep. So now one
my never two, you looking through                               
                                                                               my year that should have been
hours. So your spirit or mine at the door               
                                                                                   peering through the keyhole
of a blueprint's smudged room.

In A House Swept Away By The Sea

In the boat of the bed, in the boat
of the body. In the hold of my child
as we sink into sleep. In us both a sea

and a sea outside us. Outside this house
beside the body of the sea. In the boat of us
in a house in the night of the body

we float. In the pitch of us, the bedlam
and hum, in the rush of wind and sea.
In the hush of the child we hold

in a house beside the sea. One low groan,
the moorings moan and I fear our house
will sink. A draft of fear in the heart

of the house, a drift of father fear.
In the heart of the boat in the ribs
of the hull, the whole of a swallowing sea.

In the far and falling, the failing
to see. In the fear the heart will fill.
In the hope the bones of the house

will hold. In the drift of us unmoored
and free. In the sea of the blood,
in the sea of the body. In the fear

we'll nightly fall. In the reel
of a dream. In the seeming and real.
In a house swept away by the sea.


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