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Many Things Live Backward, One Throne Magazine

"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

are backward. 

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. 

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