He stands on the edge of daylight,
his face like a bright eye, alert,
as if he was inside a poem
sending out sparks to meet the sun.
Though I have written him in
I have no word to call his name.
I see him in mind’s eye as a flower
carved into my front gate,
blowing back and forth in a wind
heavy and wet with coming rain,
banging steel against steel in time.
The light wavers, as if he waded
through it, causing it to ripple,
and now he stands in the grass
waiting for the rain to arrive,
arms out, head back, face pale.
He angles for something more,
something more than rainstorm.
I should let the gods test him to see
if he will touch your heart to witness.
Alhambra rises out of the fields as if
abandoned years ago, during a bad winter;
even the fields themselves are more white
than grey and more grey than black.
It is an American village with an economy built
on the aged and dying, ringed by open
ground waiting, it seems, for armies to clash
and warm it with blood. The sun is nearly gone,
the charcoal-etched trees to the west are alight
with a mango, maple, turquoise
bonfire. With night coming, I leave my sister
behind, in the village of Alhambra (meaning
the Red Castle) — she floats on a bed of waiting.
Someone has hung a wreath of plastic forsythia,
indifferently lovely against the bare wall.
She can easily see it, but she will not look.
Will Reger is a founding member of the CU (Champaign-Urbana) Poetry Group (cupoetry.com), teaches at Illinois State University in Normal. His work appears in Zingara Poetry Review, Passager Journal, Eclectica Magazine, The Blue Nib Literary Magazine, Broadkill Review, Cagibi, and the Innesfree Poetry Journal. His first chapbook is Cruel with Eagles. He is the 2019-20 inaugural poet laureate for the city of Urbana, Illinois.