Poetry from A. Barnaud

to katie

while the trees
greet rainwater
you & i fear
dried tears in dimples
a day the suns
(or we)
refuse to rise
our hearts
breaking ribs
our hearts
too big for prison bars
have you ever
sat in the midst of a storm
thinking what if
it never stops
i have
but when
my hand’s electric
at the touch of yours
i want to be
your lightning rod
i want to let
the thunder scream
through my skin
then silence it
with the song
of my chest
still beating
next to yours


I don’t want to write another sad poem.
I want to write a poem
about how good it feels to want again.
I want to write a poem
about running laughing
from the icy tide
every time it goes up the shore.
I want to write a poem about leaning
over my balcony knowing
how many times I’ve thought of jumping,
how many times I’ve pulled back.
I want to write a poem
about sitting in the library
while the sun is hugging the pines.
I want to write a poem
about how two months of joy
are worth more than three months of despair.
And one day, when my chest is weightless,
when Oregon has said yes,
I won’t blame California
for stealing my soul mates
and I won’t blame myself
for having bled their silence.
Meanwhile the nights
spent shaking in dark closets
over oppressive strangers
and bursting veins
are just commas of a life sentence.
If I can choose the words for it now,
I’ll throw theirs in the fire,
start with my own instead.

sunday walk

the morning trees
were raining down sunday when
you crossed the market but saw still
a crack of dawn on tattered lips
a drenched collar through the night
that latest one walked out
on the won’t leave promise
she’d made the week before
so you went back and needed answers
but only wanted better questions
wet leaves said sidewalks said
marquees bus stops train tracks
gray skies sad wrists lone streets
all said WRITE
write the riverbed of your tears
write the agony of your dreams
write how the morning trees
are raining down sunday
because like you
soaked and frayed
they make music with the drops
and rage against death—
that unforgivable silence

A. Barnaud is a college student currently living in Portland, Oregon.