Paul Ilechko

Paul Ilechko is a Pushcart nominated poet who lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ. His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Night Heron Barks, Tampa Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Sleet Magazine, and The Inflectionist Review. His first album, “Meeting Points”, was released in 2021.  

The Failing

Along the main street     the buildings were fading 
into pale pastel shades of green or pink     as if 

someone had applied a silvery wash to the entire town     
starting in the central area     and gradually infiltrating 

the less developed neighborhoods     the ones where 
people were uncommon     and the gestalt was more 

that of a charcoal sketch then a finished oil     some of 
the buildings had flags     but it was not clear anymore 

what they were promising     and the marked-out spaces 
that used to be packed with cars parked head to toe 

were empty now     the lines slowly fading back into 
the crumbling asphalt     where plants were beginning 

to grow again after so many years of absence     the people 
that did still occasionally pass were unrecognizable     

their faces blurred     and they walked quickly past 
when they happened to meet     not looking directly 

at each other     and of course     nobody ever looked 
up at the sky     where the clouds were still hanging     

low and threatening     rapidly changing colors 
in a mysterious sequence that never seemed to repeat. 

Sonnet with Cables

His heart was too large     weighed heavy 
in his chest     attached to cables     once thick
with amperage     he had debarked at the island
many years ago     wasting his time in the gaps
between light and stone     spare cables twined
around his neck     a hi-vis rubber jacket
and shallow boots     the single road ran through
a range of low-slung hills where children clung
tightly to flowered aprons     salt spilled on 
their morning sandwich     their open mouths a torch
of melody     a song that groped through seasons 
of darkness to a glorious ringing as the gray-
flecked seam of daylight returned     his thread
of consciousness tightening     then falling away. 

Light Decay

It’s impossible to find true darkness
without leaving the atmosphere     there’s no

place here on earth without at least a trace 
of luminosity     of elementary particles

that at some other time might well identify
as waves     an unobtrusive pulse 

dialed down from ten to barely over zero
unmeasurable as wattage     imperceptible

as current     as if standing in water 
on a basement floor that dreams of being 

a river     slowly losing mass to entropy
in a constant stream of evaporation 

where everything is so goddam gradual
where physics shapes the container 

that chemistry explodes     and all 
that remains is a layer of blackening mold 

and a flickering bulb that barely casts 
sufficient light to see the scurrying mice. 

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