The Foundling Wheel by Blas Falconer

Poet Blas Falconer reads the title poem from his second collection, The Foundling Wheel, released in October by Four Way Books. To hear more, check out Falconer reading "The Annunciation" and "To press the air, to bless the silhouette."

The Foundling Wheel

i. 

They swept the river, caught the dead 
in nets. Then a wheel with a box 
let someone leave a child. As boats sway 
beneath the wall, their loose cords 

swing and clank the hollow masts, 
so the masts call out like dulled bells. 
At low tide, their hulls lie in mud. 
A mother rolls her stroller back and forth, 

looking at—the rain? My mind drifts at night, 
the current rising on the bank, 
the sound of water splashing from the roof. 

The blue curtain glows at dawn. 
I hear the gulls and don’t sleep well. 

ii.

The one who set her son adrift 
must have stood among the reeds 
as long as she could. The hand that throws 
the stone recalls its weight. 

A father’s body changes, too, 
on a molecular level: a small 
disturbance among fallen leaves, 
a soft thud. A stream of light

at dawn, the bells ring and ring, 
the world’s wheel turning toward 
this, the 6th day of October

the child sleeps beside our bed 
and you make toast with red plum jam. 

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The Annunciation by Blas Falconer

Poet Blas Falconer reads "The Annunciation" from his second collection, The Foundling Wheel, released in October by Four Way Books. To hear more, check out Falconer reading "To press the air, to bless the silhouette" and the title poem, "The Foundling Wheel."

The Annunciation

Whether she lifts a hand to her breast in protest or 
surprise, I can’t say, though we know how it ends. 

He reaches out as if to keep her there, her fingers on 
the open book of prayer or song, the cloth draped 

across her waist. Faith, he might have said, 
as the cells of disbelief began to multiply: a son 

who’d face great pain? Certain death? In one account, 
she fled. He chased her back into the house, 

not Gabriel, a pull inside the ribs until 
she acquiesced, exchanging one loss for another. 

X-rays expose a sign of someone else’s brush. 
Experts doubt the dress or wings are his 

but claim the sleeve, the buttoned cuff, a triumph, 
young as the artist was, not having found 

perspective: the vanishing point too high, one hand 
too large, the flaw in her face: a lack of fear or awe. 

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To press the air, to bless the silhouette by Blas Falconer

Poet Blas Falconer reads "To press the air, to bless the silhouette" from his second collection, The Foundling Wheel, released in October by Four Way Books. To hear more, check out Falconer reading "The Annunciation" and the title poem, "The Foundling Wheel." 

To press the air, to bless the silhouette,

the owl and the field mice—that argument—
and spare no speck of dust or fleck of light,

all fair and foul, lush and bare: the vine
that takes the barn, the nest inside the brush

(the dog’s muzzle soaked in blood); 
to resist caving in, taking comfort

in routine, facts sorted, shrinking from
disorder; to cut the fruit and not think 

of the heart, to think of it and not flinch 
or flinch and cut through its core all the same,

you wake up, walk out late at night, still dazed
and stand in the yard, which, at day, lolls

under heat, the red trumpet blossoms bob,
where, at dusk, strays rise from the tall grass

to wander streets, a fearless pack
in search of food among the trash you’ve left

exposed. Below, the city rests. You’ll test
yourself the way you always have, a boy

stepping into the dark and the story
it held—whatever it was. 

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