Poem: Owen Lucas



Meeting a past self
In the back door:

A sullen moment
Faced with myself,

Coming in from
Hoary black winter

Of my father’s wood-
Pile and petroleum

Smell of chainsaw,
Faced with child me

In split-knees and
Too-small sheepskin

Carrying giant logs,
Loading the bench

With its screws and
Scale. Bloke-breath,

Dissatisfied mumble;
Dad’s instructions

Delivered in an argot
Of practicality.

I, wilting, with arms
Out in front of me like

Pale divining rods.
In the back door

I meet myself, past,
Sat on the old white

Boiler, waiting for
The call back out

Into the sawdust and
The slurrydown night.
Owen Lucas is a British writer living in Norwalk, Connecticut. His poetry, fiction and translations have been published in more than fifty journals in the U.S., Britain, and Canada. He is an editor-at-large at Potluck Magazine. Look for new work in upcoming issues of Plume, Sakura Review, Really System, Monarch Review, Big Lucks, and Tribe. For more: owenlucaspoems.com.

I also took the opportunity to ask Owen about his numbered titles. Five-hundred and twenty-five is a pretty high number.


Do you want to say a word to our readers about your numbered titles? Are you working on something you conceive of as one incredibly long poem in sections? Or is your numbering (or choice not to title) Dickinsonian at all?


The numbered titles are nothing that interesting. I just write a lot of poems. I don’t like titles for the sake of titles (which I always felt obliged to attach to my poems when I was younger), and numbers really help to keep track of things. I sometimes find that all a title does is to pull out one ingredient of a poem and give it precedence, where I usually prefer for the body to speak for itself.

So there you have it.

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