The Tower Journal

Devon Marsh

Cold Truth

This is one way:
Think of ice and realize
It might mean anything.

A sculpture, perhaps, or dessert.
Skating on the lake;
Something fun, not crazy.

A day in the field:
Too late in the season,
Frozen stalks rattle like failure.

A moon haunts the sky;
On the pallet, a hue
To show a way across, or eyes.

At other times, hands.
A weapon, an enemy,
A withering stare.

Consider the meanings.
Not one, alone and cold,
But all of them in fluid possibility.

Relate one concept
To the others, one to many.
If conditions allow, they crystallize.

When the meanings
Come to order,
Precious flow all but stops.

Disappearing Ways

We drove a hundred and fifty miles
To see disappearing ways of life
Enacted on a grand estate.

The house, the docent said, was
Advanced for its time. For ours
It is opulent, crowded, and clean.

On the grounds we walked among
Spring flowers of immediate beauty,
Trees whose roots lay in forethought.

In a barn bereft of animal sounds, fiddles
Brayed for a clogger. Lithe and winded, she
Explained the origins of percussive dance.

A master blacksmith narrated creation.
He rang a leaf into being on his anvil,
Told us the elements of control.

My son and I asked questions. The smith
Detailed a four-century lineage
While his fire cooled. Behind us,

The forge talked to itself. At the end
Of his story the blacksmith asked
How far we'd come. A long way,

But not too far. We walked back
To our car past out-of-state plates
Arrayed like a forthcoming exhibit.

Lost Things Are

Rain today gets in the way
of looking outside for a toy
my youngest son can't find.
I tell him we must begin
by believing that all
lost things are somewhere,
just not with us.

So we look for objects that have
fallen away, like a knife
dropped from my pocket
when I was eight years old
hanging by my knees from a tree.
It crashed into leaf mulch
above my inverted head.

I searched for years.
There it lies still,
findable and unfound.
But what about other things?
What about love?
Where has health gone?
And youth? They were

A flood that has soaked
into the earth, a once-bold stream
no longer concealing rocks.
Things we thought would last
fade like the heat of days
that were perfectly suited
for hanging by our knees.


After three centuries,
faces remain as vivid
as day-lit friends, cheeks
pink with winter chill.
Flush of blood holds
iron in suspense.

The pigment rose
from ore where it lay
deep in thought
beside a cerulean seam,
essence content to dream
in full and utter dark.

Now, face to face
in light, blue
in a cloudless sky
patient as canvas, and I,
still chilled, warming
from radiant bodies nearby.

Our hearts supply
color, our minds
consider a rosy face.
We try to hold on
to a scene of a girl
in a forgettable place.

Copyright © 2014 Devon Marsh

Devon MarshDevon Marsh graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a Navy pilot. He now works as a risk manager for Wells Fargo. Father of three and husband of a night-shift critical care nurse, his poems have appeared in Muddy River Poetry Review, Dark Matter, the Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets, and on

The Tower Journal
Fall/Winter 2014