Friday, July 1, 2022

Three Poems, Paul Ilechko


The ones who had been flayed grew back
another epidermis     and the blind were 
able to see again     and the deaf danced for

the first time to the sounds of modern
music     a ritualistic rhythm that skittered
through their heads     and finally nobody

was to go hungry     he told us these things
and everyone laughed     even though their
images were mounted on a good stock card

and displayed in his gallery     and their 
children had shoes for their feet     and we 
held out our pale-veined hands     the cool 

dry skin that had never been cut in anger     
we were as green as a sky-reflected forest     
lost to our fathers and mothers     we told 

it to the world     our children and our 
children’s children     their tears sealed out 
by the bitter night as we sheltered     warm 

and dry within the comfort of his arms     
the glory of his hard-fought evangelism.


Light filtering through water 
quickly into darkness     fish
swimming in butterfly swarms
of colored smoke     light
become literature in that brief
moment before it all disappears
but it’s only a tank in the corner
of someone’s apartment     with
the smell of cloves and cinnamon
drifting from the kitchen
there are people     but they 
are as immaterial as the most
pellucid of fish     not truly
here     they swarm and separate 
and regather     all of a common
mind     seeking something 
love     or visibility     or the chance
to reclaim the ancient forests 
and wide plains where their ancestors
hunted     before it is all too late.

The Travelers

The spots are lighting it up     in specific areas 
flooding it with hue     it’s so beautiful that it

triggers our emotions in uncontrollable ways
the colors come and go     sweeping across

the surfaces     but it’s out of reach     piloting
through another space that we will never be

able to access     there are people there who are
wearing special clothing     and they know 

that they can never return     some of us claim
that they are heroes     others say they are idiots

but everyone agrees that they are brave
having ridden their vehicles on a one-way

journey     with their particular diets     and their 
calming drugs     they moved through the world

like pieces on a game board     simultaneously 
young and old     needing both athleticism 

and wisdom to reach their goal     and once
they were there     they realized they were trapped

in a new form of servitude     a victim of 
their own success     only waiting for it to end.

Paul Ilechko is a British/American poet. Born in South Yorkshire, he now lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ. His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Night Heron Barks, Louisiana Literature, Iron Horse Literary Review, Clackamas Literary Review, and Book of Matches. His first album, "Meeting Points", was released in 2021.

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