Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby


Blas Falconer is an assistant professor at Austin Peay State University, where he serves as the poetry editor of Zone 3 Magazine and Zone 3 Press. Falconer received his M.F.A. from the University of Maryland and his Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. He is the author of The Perfect Hour (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2006) and A Question of Gravity and Light (University of Arizona Press, 2007), and his work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Another Chicago Magazine, Third Coast, Puerto del Sol, Poet Lore, New Delta Review, and the Baltimore Review. “Lighter” originally appeared in the Hampton-Sydney Review.


the word that comes to mind after many nights.
As when a plane descends over a city
you call home, the body’s rise against the belt
strung across your lap. Darkness and lampposts,
like gold and silver beads below, falling
into them. Or better yet, wading in
the bioluminescent bay and each kick
creates a soft glow, each stroke makes you think
light could come from the body, and not
a world disturbed into brilliance. Because
it captures what I mean—both the weight
and how you see what you could not. As when
I heard him cry and lumbered down the hall
to find you there first, pacing the room, singing
softly in his ear. Through the window,
the city sparkled and seemed to have grown
though, by day, I never see more than
two or three men working at once, lifting
together, say, a plank of wood. Years ago,
my mother sat beside my bed, eager to bear
the fever with me. We pass him back
and forth between us until it breaks,
and I no longer want what I wanted
before. As when one day you look upon
the house you’ve built and can’t recall the field.

[This poem originally appeared on July 29, 2010.]