Ad Tertiam

Rows of pines, planted years ago – so many,
were you to count them on your fingers, you
would give up past a hundred span; and pain
doesn’t yet know about it, while lording

over all other feeling. Must explain these things
some day. In the meantime, rows
of pines, the quincunx pattern lost
in spirals and thickets of lesser branches

increasing their reach inexorably. The man
spoke of the bees: move the hive five miles
and they’ll find their way; move it five feet,

and they’ll die of confounding. A stacking
of three green boxes in the clearing,
the numbers buzzing among the numbers.


Saskia Hamilton is the author of As for Dream (2001), Divide These (2005), Canal (2005), and Corridor (forthcoming 2014). She is also the editor of The Letters of Robert Lowell (2005) and co-editor of Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell (2008). She teaches at Barnard College, Columbia University.