Issue > Poetry
Billy Reynolds

Billy Reynolds

Billy Reynolds' poems have been published in Sewanee Theological Review, Copper Nickel, and Dogs Singing: A Tribute Anthology (Salmon Poetry Press). His awards include scholarships to Sewanee and Bread Loaf writers' conferences. Currently, he lives in Tifton, Georgia, where he serves as the head of the Department of Literature and Language at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Mowing In The Dark

Before I see my son with a glass of water
over by the raised garden's too tall weeds,

before I let go of the Sears push mower, I run over
a walkie-talkie and a murdered brick marooned

in the backyard, low fire of sparks, foolish me, dad
in his  own dark with the grass that needs mowing.

And I am a blind man, so I put a meager hand out
and find his arm or think I do until I realize

it's his face, little bits of light settling on him now.
When I take the glass and tilt it to my lips,

I close my eyes, and the solid darkness
is almost nothing, open, close, open, the dark,

the giver, the taker, magic without consent.
Will I ever know how beautiful it is?

I pull the ripcord and noise becomes my friend.
I look down—right, then left—for the shadow of tall grass.

My Father's Last Game

After he pounded his fist against the armrest,
swung around, and yelled at another fan to stop

screaming in his ear, the sun still beating down
and sweat beading around his eyes, something

in the heat, stone-faced rage and his team losing,
the sound of his angry voice like a birthmark,

after I turned my face away and put my hand
on my son's cup of Dipping Dots and used the other hand

to swat the flies out of our eyes, after another homerun
made me forget, and I rose to my feet and an awkward,

slim moon made an appearance before the game finally ended,
after the hour or so of standing in line so he could stand

in a packed subway car, my seventy-year-old father
was finally walking back to the fancy hotel

among corporate gardens and pinkish streetlight
when he suddenly fell among night's black shot towers.

My son atop my shoulders, I watched from behind too far
to break his fall into the darkness. He was like a door

to a house let go with no shadows, and his falling the news
that arrives from nowhere, the silencer, and we knelt

side by side, my right hand on his shoulder, a breath
and a breath and a breath, ours, bits of paper blown

from somewhere, though my father rose and kept moving,
crossed the street where the white paint makes shapes like ribs.

But I kept forming his name with my lips, smears of light,
feeling it take hold, the exit, breath my breath, and the ribs.

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