"Time Warped" by Toysoldier Thor.
© Please do not reproduce without artist's permission.
by Andrew Reichard
"Many Things Live Backward,"
he said, and I admit I thought him out of his
head. “Seasons stretch backward,” he shouted.
I agreed with him there, backward being
the point on the compass the birds fly,
home from their winter vacations,
their plans of retirement.
“Literature holds all the backwardness
of the world,” and I saw he was mostly sane.
In H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine,
evolution rewinds and taps Darwin
on the shoulder like death. (Death also
an unwilling participant
of these backward currents.)
All things confused and terrified
look backward three times for every one
they glance the road ahead.
A circle is always drawn backward
from the point of its beginning
where the pen grooves its fibers to marked
being, to the point of its second beginning:
the trench has already been trusted.
The statue falls backward through the ages
of tyranny even though it cannot erase
the seven separate backwardnesses
of the man it imitates. And backward
becomes the statue, becomes the night
and the child-come-adult-come-child
again like the sad psalm of the backward
heart that has always reached into the
past to sing about the hand that reaches
for fang-like forwardness found
in knowledge’s fruit. There are only six
ways of reading this poem. Seven of them
Andrew Reichard is usually more comfortable with prose, but he’s found that the reading and writing of poetry sharpens all his efforts in unexpected ways. He may never be truly comfortable playing the poet, but that’s what makes it so exciting. This is his first publication in either form.