Poems by Marc Vincenz

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Weighing the Broken Heart

by Marc Vincenz

From Canary Fall 2013

Marc lives in the Icelandic town of Mosfellsbaer, where, south of the Arctic Circle, the rivers Leirvogsá, Kaldakvísl and Varmá empty into the North Sea.

Blessed the wind. Cantankerous, asthmatic priest
in swollen robes & feathered headgear—
once oceanblue & redgold—now charcoaled

darkening to soot. Waterfed & corn-bred, sun-
worshipping, sun-cursed, a ruinous disseminating
soul, gilded & guilt-ridden, heavy-handed &

lightly-touched—exhales in exhausted prayer
through empty lanes & alleys, prods rooftops,
rattles broken panes, half-open doors, hinges

groaning upon buckling frames, fingers
familiar faces of dying trees, thumbs anaemic
birds’ nests, rubs eggs to awaken life within,

kicks empty bottles & tins into blank squares,
crumpled things under porticos & steps, blows
ancient news into coppery osprey, kites, puffed up

eagles with giant wings, tears leatherbound
psalms from the palms of pews & aisles,
whispers names of long-forgotten gods, leftover

vowels as if in pigeon, as if in a burning
foreign tongue &, as he gathers himself
from his four corners, draws upon the strings,

he recalls what it was like to breathe
life into sun-filled stuff, how oxygen was
a litany & how every rain was an Amen,

he remembers cragged prayers, fragments
in leaves scattering within his own tree, roots
sinking to search for belief, limbs stretching out

over a flock—the tremulous keys of a Portuguese
accordion wheezing a simple song into his lungs,
the exhumation of a thousand jagged sins.

& now, on his last legs, he must remind himself
once & again, he is neither woman nor is he man,
he is nothing, nothing at all. Blessed the wind.

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