carnival song

the ceiling fan wavers.    it keeps forgetting where to go.
dim mirror.    a horsefly. 
walking through tall grass towards the river.
the rusted remains of a traveling carnival.
the Bible slips off the nightstand with a fat, wet
slap.    my lungs are the night grown thick with fatigued trees.
blue rearing sleep horses hooves softer than the moon.
ivory hands    
                             scarlet mandolins   

                                                                          victrolas of ash.
the sacerdotal stars look sick in their cassocks as
the summer deepens with its dream of dead wives
                                               and my hands fall like doves
through the twilight of your body.

little green turtles


The Main Street bridge    in Dayton, Ohio
trembled as if it were afraid of falling into
the Miami River and drowning, trembled
as if it were cold, trembled as if it held all
the worries and fears of the people who’d
crossed it.
I, myself, had stood on it worried, looking
hard into the opaque green water, looking
into it for Death, answers, when just then

some little green turtles surfaced, not very
good swimmers in such deep water but
still, they were trying.

drunk and dizzy in the river


In 1981 I was in my room idle just high-school graduated
rode my bike around to look at things wasn’t expecting
any girls, any future was prolly thinking I’d always be
nineteen Jesus should’ve been enough but wasn’t I’d
just come ascended like Dante into the light again after
three years of depression I was happy just to breathe happy

that the bright green of the grass didn’t depress me
and that my father let me cut it although I always cut it
crookedly just to irk him but also I was daydreaming
high on the hum of the lawnmower and Pepsi and little insects
leapt in the newly-cut grass and the birds quickly ate
them and afterwards I’d lay looking up through the

silver maple tree the tracery of its limbs was a scaffold
towards the sky its twirling samsaras were like time spun
in place time not moving forward and me, at nineteen, happy
just to be alive drugged and dizzy in the river like a gently
spinning eddy or like the idyll of an immovable summer’s day.    


Alex Rainey Ward has been published in forklift, ohio, Bateau, and eclectica, among others.
Alex is
 a foundry man and lives in Decorah, Iowa.