Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Justin Vicari: Head in the River

Because I gave you head in the river,
the death squad cut off my head and sent it
floating away. Up to my eyes I am cast
from eddy to eddy,
rapid to rapid, your
history washed from my open mouth

First white rapids surf anointed your hips
and my ears,
and your hands and the back of my neck.
With only my lips,
I held you fast like a rock in the current.

Because I gave you head in the river,
I brood downstream,
tomorrow healing too late
to do us justice.
The despots who issued the orders
heard nothing in their soundproof chambers.

Even the birds warned me to keep
one eye open.
Stupid, I know, to get caught
between a man and his shadow …
But there I was.

The heaven that does not exist
smashes the spider parade up and down
my shoulders.
It tries to shove a bleeding
knife between my fingers,
to frame me for everything.
For one moment I looked away,
the better to reach your hidden part.


Copyright 2017 Justin Vicari





Justin Vicari has been involved in the Pittsburgh writing community since 1986, when he was 18.  His first book of poems, The Professional Weepers (Pavement Saw, 2011), won the Transcontinental Award.  Follow him on Twitter@universalauthor. 

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This entry was posted on February 9, 2017 by in Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , .

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