Two Poems by Darren Bifford

New Work

The Failure of the International System

The dead horse later is not dead. The conquistador
Forgotten by his thirtieth year is resurrected
Into the fame of his youth. The staggered bull returns
To its stable of shit and hay, lies sickened there.
The Nuremberg crowds no more fail their individual
Intentions, stay standing through the night and into
The next night. It’s easy this way to remain happy.
Tomorrow we’ll have never met one another; we’ll
Have never married. Commonplace truths complicated
By new experience will take on again an adolescent glow.
When the dusk gave out its free anxieties to students
Living alone, there was no liquor to succor its hurt
And you stayed awake and listened to a single record,
Feared its repetition. Wished for finality like a switch.


While Great Nations Recast Even Greater Nations Rush In

You’re next in line. No less than a complete reversal
Will reset your scopes to the stars. How close stars are
When you wish someone else stood among them.
Now a failure triggers accountable depths in a ditch
Just this side of rifle and rattle; a little girl’s curls cut
To size; the luxuries of eating supper alone in silence,
When no one cared to call out your name—I mean,
Mine. Even though I know how that which happened
Happened, I’m still in the dark why it happened at all.
By accident everyone with their fireworks arrived
On my shore? Or was it by design? Here is one hand,
Here is another. This I know for sure. Hitched to one
Another’s arms, we spin around each other. A painter
Later imagines the rest of the events which follow,
Namely my capture and release. The birth of my children.
The situation was tight while it lasted. It lasted like forever.

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Darren Bifford

Darren Bifford is the author of Wedding in Fire Country (Nightwood Editions, 2012), and Hermit Crab (Baseline Press, 2014). He lives in Montreal.