If I am to be translated (like Enoch
who never died) then let it be at rest
in this northern field of wheat where I have stopped
before visiting my father.  I expect
that I hold no more content than the farmer's
worn red barn:  a few rusting spools of wire
that are no longer needed to secure
the borders, or attachments that have retired

from their usefulness.  And in the shelter
of the loft where the block and tackle hangs
to rearrange what was stored the year
before, maybe I'd find what really mattered,
staring out through weathered sides at this strange
green ocean, hurling its seed till it disappears.

Barry Ballard


It must be troubling for the god who loves you
To ponder how much happier you'd be today
Had you been able to glimpse your many futures.
- Carl Dennis
              The God Who Loves You

Being flat is something.  It's as quiet
as that sleeping wild bird on the patio.
And it has a terrible meaning left
out like last night's news, or a portfolio
of photographs that can't be wished back.  Even
a knowing word about the God of each
disappointment is nothing but a friend
explaining our loss in the places we reach.

It's something etched permanently inside
like that maze of scratches in the soft pine
desktop, where the past twenty-five years
cry out so many conflicting stories of why
tonight (of all nights) you ask for the signs
of "enduring", your reasons for having been here.

Barry Ballard
BARRY BALLARD's sonnets have most recently appeared in Smartish Pace, Rosebud, Hollins Critic, National Forum, The Florida Review and Quarterly West. Recipient of the Explorations Award for Literature from the University of Alaska and the Boswell Poetry Prize from Texas Christian University, Ballard has also published two prize winning collections: Green Tombs to Jupiter (Snails Pace Press Poetry Prize, 2000) and A Time To Reinvent (Creative Ash Press Poetry Prize, 2001). He writes from Burleson, Texas.