Joseph Fasano

by Joseph Fasano

And now that we have told ourselves it’s over,
we can walk back through the darkness of the garden

and look up through the briar to the wild skies.
This is the country of childhood, the new moon

like a filly in the willows, carrying our silence like a bridle.
We have taken

the only road we had to; we have laid our hands
on the carnage of our own hearts

like scriptures that the lost alone have written;
we have told ourselves

only mystery can live.
Listen, we told ourselves,

in the first days: if tonight
there is no one left to hold us, there is still

this dark and wild hymning; there is still
this new song

in this one world; there is still
the music of what is.

No more, no more waiting.

is the old, high way of changes,
and when no one, when not a soul

will hold you, tell yourself, when the wind comes
to hold you, tell yourself

that the end, too, has its splendor,
that the breath of it, the breath of it

is endless,
and whatever you have done with it, your one life,

there are the moments when the broken world is silent
and the moments when the song

is all we have left,
and the moment when we hold ourselves

in our own arms
and the song we sing to the one we hold

in that coldness
sings very close to the song that would have been.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 3.

Joseph FasanoJoseph Fasano is the author of the novel The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing (Platypus Press, 2020), which was named one of the “20 Best Small Press Books of 2020” by Maudlin House. His books of poetry are Fugue for Other Hands (2013), Inheritance (2014), Vincent (2015) and The Crossing (2018), all from Cider Press Review. His honors include the Rattle Poetry Prize 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 work has appeared in The Yale Review, The Southern Review, Boston Review, Missouri Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The American Poetry Journal, American Poets, Verse Daily, the PEN Poetry Series, Measure, and the Academy of American Poets’ poem-a-day series, among other publications. He is the Founder of the Poem for You Series, and he teaches at Manhattanville College and Columbia University. More information can be found at

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