BELLFOUNDING

Before the world, nothing                              was side-by-side,

so no two things could be                               compared, or wished for

or become, stars                                               had yet to function

in myth: there doesn’t                                    have to be truth

just what we want                                            to glean from the whole

place lowered                                                    over the mold

and clamped together,                                    bronze pouring

between us                                                        and what we know,

pouring mouthward                                        into a cave

that can be rung against                                 the walls of a mountain

itself a mold                                                      the sky falls upon

as the present falls                                          upon the past, the samurai

falls upon his sword                                        you hold out for me,

you wait by ocean’s                                         obfuscating grave

whose roiling echo                                          recalls the cargo of Zong, whose

voice are we to follow                                     or did we follow

and when did you start                                   speaking in sun

through the fingers the trees                         lace in front of my eyes:

your voice was once dark,                              I know this

because I can see                                             with just what I remember

of you                                                                 when you were my parents

and when you were Agamben                       you told me, the only evil consists instead

in the decision to remain                               in a deficit of existence

so you lifted the bell                                        and the soil stayed there

though nothing now                                       is where you left it:

 
 

DWELLING

It is alright. You may dwell in me. I am the conflagration

of the never-at-home and the never-not-at-home that makes you

part of the history of people

in the evening air that Stevens speaks of. I am the here that slips

from Rilke in the time it takes to say. And though I have no holdings,

you may increase your stock in me;

you may reserve the right to vessel. To partition if you need to.

To live amongst walls and proclaim those walls a home. Even now

I have already clothed you in vanishing

numbers, which as they rise cluster in your not being

able to picture them as they are. Able to picture me without with,

without resemblance to prior dwelling,

which pulls at you now as you stand before me. Arms supporting

a door the way Mary supported Christ in pietà.

 
 
CHRISTOPHER KONDRICH is the author of Contrapuntal (Parlor Press, 2013) and a recipient of The Paris-American Reading Series Prize. New poems appear or are forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, Boston Review, Colorado Review, cream city review, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Drunken Boat, The Paris-American, Sixth Finch, Timber, 32 Poems and Washington Square. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Denver and an editor for Denver Quarterly.