Seth Howard


Life floats a moment, dark.
How we are held, the stirr-
ings of a kiss in afternoons.
How will you repay me if
I give myself to you? Ghost

in the night that hums. An
interim the color of a cat’s
tongue. Patience was your
strength, grey lichen stiff
on the bough thickens, but

I remain here aloof. I keep
moving, a constant blur in
the air, & somewhere I am
fire (as the kōans say) ice
of which I do not transcribe

but hold a mantra in my
heart. The purple filam-
ent of a sunset etched in
the sky, & your pale face
that rests on my chest. I

come home a new man
the ceiling swirls before me
deep drones. Your grey
cat, her bright eyes that
take in the evening’s mo-

tion. You make me want
to reinvent myself in
stairwells that siphon, &
the dominatrix moon is
still a moment, winks at

me in the night. My life
a bundle of smoldering
sticks, the ice light falls
slightly off kilter as your
kiss presses my dream.


A quiet hum in the distance.
We all pushed into a corner
of the train. Hours in which
you dream. Greenish pulse

sun submerged. & I wake to
light soft as memory. Birds
float from the window left
ajar. White light of a mystic as he makes

his way into the desert. Plum
& the Italian aesthetic. You
made me want to live, find
the potential in my ecstasies

these cages of boredom, &
freedoms of joy. The earth
is where I left it. By the box
a sun resurfaces, the moon

is majestic when our hope is strong.
Night phantoms & our lives
in the city. I wake to light
memory before an autumn

dream, you came with crisp
leaves on your pink sweater.
Night vacant, a faint far-off
signal that calls. This is where you

pose a question, in the hall
as the waters surge. Always
an inquiry that remains
in a spell spoken or held on

the tongue. You wished to
prove to me I had a chance.
In the cities, I felt that was
true & I thanked you for it.


Dive into waters that womb you in light & the sun will close its doors. The slow remembrances of one who sits patient in a cell. The seasons. I wake in the silent morning, skies grey hover in the window that is gone. I slip through the white petals & beyond the wall a slight suction. Dream of prisms & the night that takes us in. Of silent streams that bring us back. Wonder & inflection. There on the high branches, a persimmon hangs. The evening swallows us in an instant.


Fireflies on an autumn night. The way the water flows into the locus of unknowing. I sit still & wait a moment in the rains. Dry hours inside the poem. The wind rattles the windows. For the time being I am rooted in being & time. Night emerges an olive from the waters & my sister returns from the mid-west. Dream of sequences. Silences long, & without being detected I exit the room. Tiles float in the air, & somewhere in the distance the sun’s eye drips. I leave for the provinces on a Sunday afternoon. The air is cool in the hills & wind caresses my oblivion.


Clouds fringe the corners of the mind, this Friday when hungry seagulls gather on the esplanade. Winds brisk & afternoons of cloudy apple cider. This October when unsteady ghouls roam the night in despondency. I wake to the sound of birds brimming from a glass. These night circuses. Secret misdirection in the hall of sand. I sip a sequence of yesterdays that fall from my head. Blue phantom. Sun the color of a pill you swallow each day, a prayer for Jesus to come down from his astral chair. Silences swim. In cool air you breathe in the cosmos.


This afternoon, the light slants at a precarious angle. The sun wakes & its sleepy eye is nirvana. Icy leaf, the restless hours. People file out of the church, a few girls in heels. Was it a waking light cast its shadow on the steps? I reel under the stress of it, feel the ease of the thick sails catching in those spectrums that promise a marvelous day. I wake to showers & the light is grey in pools that ripple under her touch. Sleepless in the hall. Was it a dream or a nightmare? It was a whim she said had led her to the river. By her presence the geese return home.


Silence in my apartment
sealed in this space that

wakes me. I stood firm
in the rains, the serene

signals, & the trail of her
eye. Listless in the morn-

ing I sip my hot coffee.
We wanted only some

peace of mind. Quiet stillness
& the beginnings of a

change. The blue angel
falls from the ceiling, &

the orange devil wakes
from his sleep. I reflect

motionless. For a moment
all is well. The rain is

almost invisible at the
airport. Searching for

a sign. The love I felt
for her, in the interim

sleep. I leave my old
self behind. A ring in

the air, & an immeasurable
patience. I watch

faint moths of light
flake away, & wait

at a terminal, kept
within the stillness.

Seth Howard is the author of two chapbooks: Out of the East, & Waters from a Well. His work has appeared in Otoliths, BlazeVOX [books], unarmed journal, Big Hammer, Oddball Magazine, Chronogram, Saudade, Elephant, & elsewhere. He hosted the Poetry Open Mic at the Washington Street Coffee House for a year, where he shared much of his own work, & has done several featured readings in local bookstores. He graduated from the University of Connecticut, & studied abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo for three years. In his spare time, he enjoys the practice of Zazen, watches K-drama, & co-edits CAPSULE Magazine. He currently resides in New London.
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