Shield & Song


You be awe. I’ll be knife.
There’s an altar by the water.
You be creature. I’ll be priest.
Slack sails wait wind. Wind waits feast.
Least blood most blessed. You be what I lack.
Ceased asking why. Ceased open eyes. You
Alter in darkness alone. My girl of gold-hair-
Life. Be antlers of deer. Be your own rescue.


The sun god stood wet in the rain. Modesty, myth.
The missing arm points at the truth or plucks a string
And waits for the tune. The broken penis
Bends down. You know so much
More than you’ve lived. That’s how it feels. You
Prepare remarks, a kind of proof, mostly benign.
Almost no place sees you. Broke the nose off. Dumb form of rescue.

*Listen to Dan discuss his “Shields & Songs” series here.

Dan Beachy-Quick is the author of five collections of poetry and a volume of interwoven essays on Moby Dick entitled A Whaler’s Dictionary. His third book of poems, Mulberry (2006), was a finalist for the prestigious Los Angeles Times Book Award. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado where he teaches in the Colorado State University MFA program.