Jeff Fallis


(Fox Theatre, Atlanta, 2016)

April 14: same night Lincoln got shot
and the Titanic hit the iceberg

Four planets in retrograde
show delayed a week already

cycles of the moon emblazoned
across his purple silk pyjamas

The scepter he walked with
not an affectation

but an affirmation
of his majesty

A talisman against the agony
in his knees and hips

for which he was taking
black-market fentanyl

likely during the same
astonishing ninety minutes

I spent under a faux sky
of twinkling yellow stars

listening to him force
himself to be vulnerable

in front of strangers
who were affected

by his final strangeness
& singularity

in ways they could
never quite articulate

in ways they would
wake up to years later

feeling both an absence
and expansion

of the world they
felt and believed in

rain that breathes
snow that falls upwards

a new spectrum of color
equal parts


electric intercourse
and water

JEFF FALLIS is a poet and critic who lives in Athens, Georgia, and teaches at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. His poems and essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Oxford American, James Baldwin Review, and elsewhere.

Read more by Jeff Fallis in B O D Y:

Essay in the June 2020 issue