Brian Barker


Their faces, even without mouths, will be serious. Their heads will be burnt matches. Their wings will be scraps of paper dusted with ash, bearing the last scribbled reports of complete annihilation. The lights will flicker off in the houses. The smoke will choke back the moon. And yet, they will witness nothing, a flock of white noise in the weeds. Death will wait quietly inside the cylinder of their bodies like a puddle of black rain in the hull of a rotting canoe. Meanwhile, they will rise in darkness above ruined estuaries: ghosts of oysters rowing to the opposite shore.

Brian Barker is the author of two collections of poems, The Animal Gospels and The Black Ocean. He teaches at the University of Colorado Denver, where he co-edits the journal Copper Nickel.