Seven Broken Dreams


One horseshoe clangs against an iron spike.
You breathe them in: their glimmered bayonets.
The ivy strangles up to maze its way.
Such species are the commonest and plain.
My cousin’s silence was a miracle.
Later he would say nothing’s beautiful.
Loose straw stuck through his flannel’s fraying tears.
Your face, you have to bury it in clouds.
Our stewardess gossiped us out to sea.
At each slight cough she spins at me and snarls.
Her heaven is an endless disbelief.
We bash our oars, splintering moonlight.
A storm of bears limp furious and lame.
At dawn I count the birds I cannot name.

Adam Tavel’s third poetry collection, Catafalque, won the 2017 Richard Wilbur Book Award (University of Evansville Press, 2018). You can find him online at