LATE HYMN

Joseph Fasano

Sooner or later you will have to do it.

Go in.  Open 

the heavy door of childhood


and listen

to the same wind in the linens; listen

as it brings you to the bed again,


as you lie down

in the ruins of the new moon,

the new moon 


with its bitter taste

of ashes, the tattered moon

with its silks 


that bid you stay.

This

is the same moon, the moon of youth,


like all the heavy halters of a breaker.

This is the place

where the fear came, where it broke your life


like common bread 

in darkness,

where it opened you


to the new moon in its changes.  This 

is where you gave your life

away.


Listen.  Be still

and listen.  Unlasting, at last,

is what you have now—


—And when you lie down

in the ruins

of this new moon, when you rise up


and stand again

in tatters, 

look back


at the old ghosts 

in the coldness,

the darkened house


of shadows as you close it,

as you open

to the spring wind


in the grasses, the cold road

you will walk, now, to its ending—

through the new 


moon, through its ruins, through its music,

and as far as its changes will take you

toward the great


and the changed place 

of the saved ones

where to live this life and sing it are the same.


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Joseph Fasano is a poet, novelist, and songwriter.  His novels include The Swallows of Lunetto (forthcoming from Maudlin House, 2022) and The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing (Platypus Press, 2020), which was named one of the "20 Best Small Press Books of 2020."  His books of poetry include The Crossing (2018), Vincent (2015), Inheritance (2014), and Fugue for Other Hands (2013).  His honors include The Cider Press Review Book Award, the Rattle Poetry Prize,, inclusion in the Forward Book of Poetry, and a nomination for the Poets' Prize, "awarded annually for the best book of verse published by a living American poet two years prior to the award year."  His writing has been translated into Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Spanish, Chinese, Swedish, and other languages.  He serves on the Editorial Board of Alice James Books and as the Founder and Curator of the Poem for You Series.  He is currently writing a "living poem" for his son and posting it on Twitter at @stars_poem.