Divac Villanelle by Michael Marberry


– Vlade Divac (1989-2005)


The dead ones, tired from life, know life is best:
each pulse a hammer strike, each breath a roar.
We must forgive our friends, forget the rest.

Today reminds me how the earth’s undressed
by us. Tonight reminds me of the poor.
Still, dead ones, tired in life, know life is best.

O, brother! O, sister! Can we caress
whatever’s in us that survived the wars?
We must forget ourselves, forgive the rest.

Forgiveness seems an impossible test,
let alone forgetting what came before.
The dead ones tried. In life, all life is best

when lived without the tonnage of regret.
The more that we remember this, the more
we can forgive. (A friend forgets the rest.)

When pressed, I want your answer to be yes.
Don’t dwell solely on the worst parts like you’re
a dead one, tired with life. Know life is best,
and please—forgive me, friend—forget the rest.




Michael Marberry‘s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Republic, West Branch, Crab Orchard Review, Sycamore Review, Indiana Review, Bat City Review, and elsewhere. A 2015 Pushcart Prize recipient, Michael is currently pursuing his PhD at Western Michigan University, where he serves as Assistant Coordinator of the Creative Writing Program and as Coordinator of the Poets-in-Print Reading Series. He hails from Tennessee.