The Book of Daniel



By Rebecca Lu Kiernan









By Rebecca Lu Kiernan



Your mother never called you Danny,

Her long cherry hair adrift on sea breeze, 

Brushing against your bronze face

In that bent photograph,

Everything softened in the sodium light,

Even the detachment in her voice.


Your first wife never called you Dan

In your steel blue Armani chalk stripe

Too exhausted for conversation

As you stumbled in late from work

To the anesthesia of quick, efficient copulation.


It was always Daniel,

Biblical, unalterable, muscular.

Daniel of the labyrinthic hemlock forest.

Daniel of twilight stained glass intercessory,

Daniel of ashy volcano rain and night blindness.

Daniel of darkening angels.


I ride to you on moonlight

Through the gap in the uneven new curtains

Purchased after the fire.

There are some things I think you should know.

How many hurricanes will come this season.

The number of sea shells

That will fit in the cup of your hands.

The boiling point of tungsten.

How velocity relates to time

In the calculation of displacement.

The distance between Io and Ganymede.

The brightness of Bellatrix.

The shape of things to come.

The most likely method of suicide

For a person with an I.Q. exceeding 140.

The lowest level of earthquake

Which would wake a sleeping dog.

The gemstone beneath Europa's icy sea.

What a terminally ill blue jay will do to hasten death.

The distance between you and me.

I could never touch your face again;

Such is my fear of flying.


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