William Fargason

Three Poems

Because Because

Because it wasn’t exact­ly break­ing and entering,
because it was your friend’s house, because you knew
where they hid the key under the rock by the mailbox,
because you were sup­posed to feed their cats
while they were gone, because they were your friends
not mine, because when we fucked on their couch
we cleaned up after, because the heat was turned
almost com­plete­ly off, because you were shiv­er­ing naked
against the leather, because it wasn’t exact­ly stealing
when I opened their bot­tle of Cordella nes­tled behind
the cat lit­ter, because I knew we were both only home
for the hol­i­day, because we were there almost
two hours before we remem­bered to even feed
the cats, because you smelled like cin­na­mon, because
I was try­ing my hard­est not to add weight to our actions,
because now you were liv­ing on the oth­er side of the country,
because when you tripped over the Christmas lights
I laughed, because it wasn’t exact­ly drunk if you could
still walk a straight line on their hard­wood floor,
because the worn grain felt smooth against my socks,
because your friend’s cats need­ed feed­ing, we fed them.


You sit close to me on the floor of your stu­dio apartment,
show me your newest sketch­book, its nudes car­i­ca­tured with
over­sized nip­ples, fin­gers, lips. Then, two old sketchbooks:—
self-por­traits where you’re nev­er smil­ing; dripped watercolor
out­lined in ball­point pen; decoupaged receipts, movie ticket
stubs, and for­tune cook­ie for­tunes bast­ed with one thin coat of
white glue. I know you just well enough to not have to say anything
right away as you turn each page. The next is filled with
scrib­bled quotes from your most recent ex beside penciled
etch­ings of his face: You, the song I want to sing but can’t.
Him in acrylic, him in char­coal, him behind words you drew over
and across him, words that run into the neigh­bor­ing page:
You, the drink I want to drink and do. His nose is stronger than
mine, his eyes soft­er. But with each por­trait, his features
become more and more exag­ger­at­ed, sharp­er, turn into something
grotesque, some­thing far from the first entry of him: a photograph
mess­i­ly lac­quered in and framed with col­ored pen­cil. I want you
to look up from the page toward me but you don’t. Outside
your win­dow, an oak branch casts our reflec­tion yellow.
You’re trac­ing the bind­ing with your fin­ger. You’re in them again.

Polar Bear

I am stand­ing on the edge of
a boat dock in Orange Beach,
Alabama, and I think of
the word: polar bear. Furthest thing
from here, but now the closest.
I have spo­ken it into being!
I think of all of it: of paw, of fur,
of teeth, of fat as insulation.
I think of all of noth­ing. Then I think of
all of polar bear and it’s terrible!
Two or three boats go by—
a speed­er with two women
(one, a red bathing suit, the oth­er orange),
and a man dri­ving. But I am with
polar bear, of all polar bear is,
and it, with me. I must put myself
into the arc­tic into the ice into the water.
I have a friend who has a
win­ter­time lake house, sauna,
gaze­bo over­look­ing a snowy creek,
and she told me how,—
after sit­ting in the sauna for
an hour,—she would go jump
into the frozen creek. The rush would
kill her! But I am nowhere near
snow. I am at the beach. Neon and car
horns from across the street, red
and green nav­i­ga­tion lights of
boats reflect­ing off the water. I think
of the ice sculp­ture of a swan
in my con­do lob­by: how it melted
with­in hours, back into the form
it came from. How to get to a swan
out of ice, one has to chip away at
what it’s not. But I am not
think­ing of swan. Rather: polar bear!
I am think­ing of all that is not polar bear
but should be. I must con­tain all
of polar bear, and all of polar bear
me. I just want to see it
the way it was meant to be seen.
I am stand­ing here, at the end of
a boat dock, think­ing of polar bear!
The dock’s posts extend into
water, its posts cov­ered in barnacles,
its posts look­ing almost like dirty white fur.
I am stand­ing here at the end of
a boat dock think­ing of polar bear
and of a sculp­ture of a polar bear,
but the ice (that I don’t have) is melting.


William Fargason received a B.A. in English from Auburn University, where he served as poet­ry edi­tor of the lit­er­ary mag­a­zine The Circle. His work has appeared or is forth­com­ing in New Orleans Review, Eclectica Magazine, Sakura Review, Bayou Magazine, and H.O.W. Journal. He is a poet­ry M.F.A. can­di­date at the University of Maryland.