Two Poems by John Swain

Expiatory Thread

A simple knot frays in the rain
before the world drifts into sea,
the blue blooms like a daughter
as she swims.
The light shines on the surface
like a plate of coins,
I wanted to vanish into nothing
and return with a house of earth.
Branching roots mend the cord,
our birth severed
and then in them I can again be,
though the day’s burden weighs
like a heart without comfort,
I unraveled the thread in a maze.



Grey semblance of dream
like the pedestrian bridge
where we once welcomed
the thought of a real love
like barges and migrations.
Mist like a wedding dress
pretends the innocence
of the broken and molested river.
I gave her vow and ring
then we killed ourselves together.
I heard the dirge
of our marriage procession
resonate on the shattered bottles.
God taught me another song,
but I could never master
the timbre of the instrument.


John Swain


John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. erbacce press recently published his fifth chapbook, Handing the Cask.


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