Frank Paino: ” For a Couple Who Died Two Days Apart”


Winter’s no season to vouchsafe hearts
but these two made do with even exchange,

bone-white for bone-white and quiet now
as a forest through which some unfamiliar beast

has lately passed. Underfoot, they lie here,
one atop the other as, breathless in life,

they may happily have traded places
against the tousled sheets—slack-jawed

and joyfully astride—windows ajar
in equal measure to spring’s fecund chorus

or autumn’s flaming elegy. Winter for now or
forever: no matter to these lovers wedded beneath

hoarfrost and hunger, their contented erasure
like staves of music that molder on a forgotten page

until their vanishing itself becomes the song.

Frank Paino’s poems have appeared in a variety of literary publications, including: Crab Orchard ReviewCatamaranNorth American ReviewKenyon Review, and World Literature Today. He has received a number of awards, including a Pushcart Prize, the Cleveland Arts Prize in Literature, and a 2016 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. His third book of poetry, Obscura, is published by Orison Books (2020).

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