One Hundred Pounds of Myrrh

for Joyce Polistena

You knew her simple name and called to her,
allowing that we often make mistakes.
That night, she thought she’d seen the gardener.

You looked upon the coins of Lucifer
and took, withal, what you had come to take.
You called to him, as you would call to her.

You lay amid a hundred pounds of myrrh
where few can tell what is and isn’t fake,
and there you were at night, the gardener.

But what is truth, and what were you to her?
Some nights, not even Peter stays awake.
You knew her name, and so you called to her.

You were the one who so few thought you were,
but just a word was all that it would take,
and what then does it mean to be a gardener?

Look how bad we’ve been and what occurs
when Peter, too, is sleeping at the gate.
The words you uttered first were just for her.
Then, forever, now… the gardener.

John Foy

John Foy

John Foy’s third book of poems, It Is What It Is, won the 2021 Donald Justice Poetry Prize and will be out early next year from Autumn House Press. His second book, Night Vision, won the New Criterion Poetry Prize and was published by St. Augustine’s Press in 2016. It was also a finalist for the 2018 Poets’ Prize. His poems have been included in the Swallow Anthology of New American Poets, The Raintown Review Anthology, and Rabbit Ears, an anthology of poems about TV, and they have appeared widely in journals and online. He lives and works in New York.
John Foy

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Author: John Foy

John Foy’s third book of poems, It Is What It Is, won the 2021 Donald Justice Poetry Prize and will be out early next year from Autumn House Press. His second book, Night Vision, won the New Criterion Poetry Prize and was published by St. Augustine’s Press in 2016. It was also a finalist for the 2018 Poets’ Prize. His poems have been included in the Swallow Anthology of New American Poets, The Raintown Review Anthology, and Rabbit Ears, an anthology of poems about TV, and they have appeared widely in journals and online. He lives and works in New York.