person Ace Boggess, three poems

Ace Boggess is author of three books of poetry, most recently Ultra
Deep Field (Brick Road, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody
(Hyperborea, 2016). His poems have appeared in River Styx, Harvard
Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, and many other journals. He
lives in Charleston, West Virginia.


“Have You Already Arranged a Funeral in Advance?”

—funeral home questionnaire

Who thinks about midnight at 11:59?
Hard to believe in what hasn’t happened yet.

It’s like divorce: not finalized until the judge
says yes & signs, dividing the furniture,

kids, cars, CDs, land. I won’t be there
when my box—my blackacre—

might be a birdhouse on the mausoleum lawn.
I prefer what’s in front of me:

pen, page, the lover of my dreams
who dreams me, too, though reckless.

Give me 11:59 forever. Let me
cling to it like a cloud that passes slowly,

motion denied by illusion of stability.
I’m not counting forward in my head.


“If You Were a Bird, from What
Would You Make Your Nest?”

~question asked by Grace Welch~

cushioned ball bats, branches covered in bubble wrap:

arms. soft lines, crooked elbows, forms attached—

women & men, I’m not picky when it comes to comfort-skin.

I want to rest in a cradle of touch.

I sometimes wish for a punch so I might feel

connected. if I slept with arms beneath my neck & back,

my thighs, scratching the itch at my ankle,

teasing the notch at my knee,

I’d be a happy little zebra finch,

lifting my head under morning light to sing.


Day Trip

I drive her on a journey to New Vrindaban
to see the Golden Temple, gardens, Krishna shrine.
She wants to look at peacocks & the swan.

We set out in the a.m. before dawn,
directions leading north, a jagged line
for our journey to New Vrindaban.

She’d like to feed a heifer, but it lazes with a yawn.
It has its private bale of hay to mine.
At least she spots the peacocks & the swan.

Then we follow West Virginia’s winding Autobahn
to tour a broken palace less Divine
beyond our journey to New Vrindaban:

the state pen—gothic, closed, the guilty gone—
where Charles Manson’s mother walked the line.
My love preferred the peacocks & the swan.

Dark cells & bars meant more to an ex-con
than to her as if for me a holy shine
on our day’s journey to New Vrindaban
where peacocks lit the grass & teased the swan.


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