I.    The Bloody Angle  America, 1862

Oliver Wendell Holmes stalked the Antietam
battlefield, searching for his missing son's face
among photographs of the corpses. Mathew Brady
took the pictures, exposed over the hours the gravediggers
plundered, then dug. Holmes stared at the prints, gaping
mouth as open as the open-mouthed dead.
In one, an ashen road faded into the distance, a single
horseman gathering his low-slung sights towards the camera
and the corpses captured within. With every passing
print, Homes exhausted his breath, viewing all of death's flat
circumstances, no one, nothing, recognized.

II.    The Guard  Spain, 1951

The Spanish Guardia Civil squint towards the vanishing
right of the photograph. The sun blanches,
whitens what should be dark
faces. Uniforms black, creases
sharp against a the glaring wall, their pose
is spectral, unprotected as the Guardia attempt
to engage the blinding threat of the unseen.

III.   Gypsies  Czechoslovakia, 1963

What can and cannot be captured
by refracted mirrors and glass revolves
in the image of a gypsy murderer walking
cuffed towards the camera and the gallows
pole. A line of his brethen watch
a few yards away. Tire tracks frieze
the rocky ground, a conclusion of rutted
earth ending at level stone huts. The guilty
tilts against these angles, gazing far past
the pale of the lens and its varying grey
shades. The only white within the picture: the starched
collar around his corded throat, and the overwhelming
spaces which surround the black, dilated eyes.

Tobias Seamon


Mouse tail dangling from beak, an owl turns
Its head in a full circle, staring right through me

The stone in my shoe sobs, burying
Chalk face against blistered heel

I fashion strings from my gut and pluck
An out of tune intestinal air

Wild women with meat-stained lips and wine-
Soaked sexes howl and drool alongside Cerberus

Eurydice, breasts smeared with ash, mounts
Char-armed Hades in a frenzy

A wood of suicides uproot and come to
Me, bent on a second self-inflicted death

The pennies on my eyelids cry, then someone invisible
Insists the tears mean I'm still alive

Tobias Seamon

TOBIAS SEAMON has previously been a finalist for the Dana Award in poetry. His work has appeared in 3rd Bed, CutBank, The Absinthe Literary Review, and the online magazine
The Morning News.  He contributes frequently (satire, memoir, short fiction) to the writing site
0 (Zero) Format, as well as edits an online journal of writing and the arts, Whalelane. The son of a dairy farmer (farm sold years ago through necessity) and English professor and fiction writer, he lives in Albany, New York.
Art by John Sokol
Art by John Sokol