We’re going to shove the boat
into the water, sink or sail.
We don’t care if it’ll float
as long as there’s a fire
and a body to burn, a hero
in the midst of our cheering
flames, a reunification
of soldier with battlefields,
gold plains beyond ashes.

We’re seeking a way to become
air above villages, a blue ship
overlooking dead earth inside
oxygen, ready to swoop down
like V alkyries on our enemies,
who’d invade us without mercy,
lightning that electrocutes their
will so they slump down defeated,
thunder that rattles them to death.

We’re dragging the vessel on land,
to see what’s left of the carcass
turned on the spit of celebration.
Some think an armored spirit
yells at his enemies to kill them all,
drop children like fallen birds
who’ve made the mistake of playing
between their arrows, their mothers
solid nests of stone, dry of milk.



cover beaches
to the tips
of oceans. 

Bears, leave
stop deep
dreams of
spiral through

blow seeds
against ice.


You shouldn’t have
to turn on faucets
or unload groceries.
Workers should be
available at all times
for these chores,
nailing up paintings,
repairing holes in roofs,
fixing leaks in pipes.
A squad of mothers
should make cupcakes,
pink frosted with sprinkles
for your school bake sales.
A getaway driver
should rush your pregnant
wife to the hospital.
He should be armed
with a German pistol
to ensure she’ll receive
the best room possible.
A trained weeper
should grieve for you
at funerals, look
in loved ones’ eyes
for the final time.
He’ll wail and grip
the coffin’s edge,
while you read your
newspaper in bed,
eat a Danish that’s
sweet, not like ash in
your widower’s mouth.




apocryphaltext Vol. 2, Nos. 2 & 3

Donald Illich has published poems in The Iowa Review, Fourteen Hills, Passages North, Cold Mountain Review, Roanoke Review, and Hubbub.His work will be included in future issues of Nimrod, Lit, Combo Magazine, Sow's Ear Poetry Review, and The Sulphur River Literary Review.  He received a Prairie Schooner scholarship to the 2006 Nebraska Summer Writer’s Conference.  His Web site is www.floatnotswim.com.


3 poems by donald illich