David Rivard

   Tho it’s true our fathers’ fathers nailed to their doors
wreaths of pagan balsam to winter over on plowed streets
far from dark pines, they were not winsome—
and as the children of their continuum neither are we—
we aren’t pretty-boys or high-hearted missionaries—
no church bells made of pig-iron have rung out
our return from months held hostage by a warlord—
neither are we about to hatch a plan to rid the town of bribery— 
there are no martyrs here among us; any flash of lightning
could tell you that—& if you are looking for one of us
to promise restitution or redemption, look elsewhere—
we don’t cheat each other, but we do sometimes
cook the books—we have the ready gifts we all
were born with, for better or worse—even if each of us
has woken at night & felt himself an immigrant still,
with nothing to call his own, just a stowaway’s code
and a cold window to touch a forehead to & cry. 
We tell ourselves that at least we know the difference 
between sleeping & waking—but the snow can see that
from a distance we look like all the distance it falls through.

Found In Volume 42, No. 01
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David Rivard
About the Author

In addition to Standoff, David Rivard is the author of five other books: Otherwise Elsewhere, Sugartown, Bewitched Playground, Wise Poison, winner of the James Laughlin Prize from the Academy of American Poets and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and Torque, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. Among his awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Civitella Ranieri, and the NEA, as well as two Shestack Prizes from American Poetry Review and the Hardison Poetry Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library, in recognition of both his writing and teaching.  He teaches in the MFA in Writing program at the University of New Hampshire.