The ax in the shallows could be, at certain angles of sun,
the brightest fire in the current, though it tells you nothing,

not who abandoned it, or why, if it was terminally broken
or evidence, or bore the butt of a child’s tedium or prank.

Some of us are graves of our own occasion and carry that
to the end, our powers of explanation lost, our iron dulled

by weather and abuse. It does not mean we are sentimental
if we long to put it down, however vital in another winter,

or critical as in critical mass or theory or sharp complaint.
The problem is elsewhere. The ax in the stream will tell you.

Or the night that throws a victim’s caution to the wolves,
and the mind turns to the body and says, go on, use me, hurl me

from shore, blazon me in leaves and petals and the kind of rain
that never breaks a mirror or glass. That is nothing but rain.

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-two books including, most recently, Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, SIU Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), and Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse, 2018). Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.