The Other Side

by John Blair

Much there is that is
unbeautiful, much there is
that rubs the eye raw

like sand and knuckles.
In some farflung plane
of penury we’ll

squat in the purest
pain of perception for what
we’ve witnessed. Brushes

will be dipped into
the cups of our coddled eyes
to make sparks and stars

and all the happy colors
of Jesus on the tumbled
walls of our humbled

city. They will kiss
us blind and leave us wanting,
because nothing else

is enough to save
us from things like this blister
of pink morning light

crawling el otro
lado over the fields near
Matamoros where

killed a boy and strung baling
wire through the rattle

jewelry of his spine
so as to yank it ripesnake
from the grave for luck,

clean of its rank boy
meat and charmed with surrender.
The cornfields stutter

a wild new chorus
of contingency, each day
opening in pure

heartfelt relief.
The sound is the meaning of
everything the world

can mean, a hot blond
susurrus of so what, so
what, new grief just like

the old grief, losses
like locusts clinging to one
leaf or another,

the marginal love
of beautiful things piling
like winddrift against

fenceposts blacktapping
from one side of our open
eyes to the other,

where the lonesome motes
float like the cares of the dead
polished into stars

and strung pearls of bone.