by Joe Hall

For you to go to the place pilgrims must not go
Where we see no beginning, the only thread
Behind all moving vans fleeing fields
Satellites are salting, advanced technical degrees
Livestock on the boards, the Mayflower dream—
Of being in the center, the soft, giving
Walls, the only possible movement
The soft shepherding of blood through my body, Lord
In whom we find no end—
In the morning when I wake there is frost on the lawn
The buildings have wandered farther up
The steep green slopes, grazing on the sweet grass
Calving rooms and shrines, the scents
Of shared fluids in a warm breeze 
On the road beside my camp the altar is in its
Daily migration, carried like a stretcher
By the mayor’s two pretend sons
I turn on the radio and try to
Follow the channel as it drifts along
The dial of a life spent picking through
Stories deeper in the archival vault
Where princes are kept secrets of the state
The state a secret to them—This was before
We found ourselves at the peninsula’s storm-tossed end
Clouds of starving priests descending on the field
Excommunicating locusts before we heard
The capitol had vanished and it was raining
The surgery scarred bodies of decapitated princes

Photo: Joe Hall
Joe Hall’s first book of poems is Pigafetta Is My Wife (Black Ocean Press). The editors of Gulf Coast, HTMLGIANT, Rooms Outlast Us, Barrelhouse, Versal, Octopus, and other journals were kind enough to feature his poems and essays. He co-organizes the DC area reading series Cheryl’s Gone with Wade Fletcher. Other online work can be found at