Poetry: Lewis Mundt


after Stephen Dunn

If you are sleeping when the axe buries itself

in the stump outside your home, wake and walk

softly through your halls. Walk softly through

this house that is like your heart, built in the solace

of these woods from things you claimed as your own.

Touch everything. Touch it roughly, and

think of the heartbeats of the trees giving

their lives, each swaying wood grain a

skipped beat of gasping titans beneath

your hands, your careful eyes, your gentle

push, the settling of these quiet things.

But your hands are not in this house. Your

heart is not in this house. Your love is not in

this house. This house was not built from tall,

certain things, but from the surest things

you could find: roots, nests, not clocks

but the parts hidden behind their faces,

reminders of belief in always moving forward.

One morning you will wake in this home that

is like your heart to find that the axe, the certain

and the strong, has buried itself in the wet stump

outside, you will touch everything roughly, this

house will sound no longer like your heart but

your heart will sound like this house, built tall

from imagined things, high ceilings, echoes,

stopped clock pieces, empty nests, gasping

roots. Your heart will feel like this house. You

will burn it to the ground.


This morning, Ray Bradbury is dead

and there is only soy milk at my coffee shop.

I do not know which to be more sad about,

that my body and I are suddenly uncomfortable

or that a man I have never met, far away,

has stopped breathing.

My heartbeat

will end one day.

It is a miracle it’s lasted this long,

not because I have wished it otherwise,

but because my car keeps overheating.

My car is huge

compared to my heart.

A writing prompt,

given to me on a bicycle ride last week:

     “What is the most dangerous thing you’ve done lately,

     and why?”

I climbed the Pillsbury building,

because I wanted to, because I could,

or because I was bored, or because I know how,

because I know that wearing dark blue at night

makes you look like a cloud.

Ray Bradbury’s heart is not beating anymore.

The Pillsbury building is so big

compared to his heart,

but this morning he is dead

and there is only soy milk at my coffee shop.

All rights reserved to Lewis Mundt.

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