The Joinery

what we say

therefore works

into a pattern
a design of use

not against
the asymmetrical flame

but the practice
of burning

the words offer
a smooth drawer

a slender shelf

on tapered legs
sleek profile

of amber teak
holds together

with no hardware

mortise and tenon



Franz Not Your Father

Franz not your father called and left you a message: Difficulty requires consciousness, to which I replied, That is simple to understand and I will tell her. Often one condition requires another which does not reciprocate. Franz not your father is totally German in his austerity. Our friend’s father, whom she had not known since she was seven, died unexpectedly, and a mysterious man with an authentic Albanian name I would never remember called to notify her. I know her less intimately now but that is not the point. I called back Franz not your father and asked if he had seen you, and he replied, I remember the look on your face when you were waking. How could he? To be in the other’s company is a mutual room. While I was in the coma I had difficulty breathing, which I forgot to mention, as I was not calling to disprove him, or to request that he define consciousness. There are levels and degrees, each a nuanced description. I told him everything about our Albanian friend whose father twice disappeared and he reminded me that he is Franz, which isn’t to say nobody’s father.


Jason Labbe is the author of the chapbooks Blackwash Canal (H_NGM_N) and Dear Photographer (Phylum Press), as well as poems appearing in A Public Space, Boston Review, Conjunctions, Poetry, Colorado Review, Handsome, and Ephemeroptera, among other venues. He lives in Bethany, Connecticut, teaches at Southern Connecticut State University, and curates readings for Intercambio in New Haven. He is also a musician and directs the ever-growing experimental music collective Snake Oil.