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THREE POEMS

 

ADDRESSEE

 

I mind less

that you go far away in time.

Once I had to harden myself to the idea.

Now I ask more of it, and you, and the carryover.

Those I find time for presently

do not bring this cup

of stars your listening makes.

Few of us are free of petty necessity, hurts

spun back to inflictions, ambition

rocking to exhausted desire. I worry

less that I’m not into this. I love

the curtain between us. The old space

of sailing, the birds that fly

so far from land. 

 

 

 

Origin is Your Original Sin

—A.R. Ammons

 

Not to have touched your starting point.

Never to have reached for where you are.

To renounce splitting a single

thing in half. Never to have fooled

yourself or others. To have no cause

for redirection. To let alone the long odds

and the favourable. Not to be this or

that. Neither spatialised, nor

spiritualised. To leave your bear

in the eternal winter dream of spring.

Not to emerge. Never to mate

or part with time. Not to be licked

into shape, never to mind the branching

acts, the superstitious rags

you might have tied to trees beside

the wells. Beside the mossy holy

depth of wells. Never to speak

of wells, the steadfast eye of water.

Never to try the thick entanglements

of air and blood. Never to see the salmon

leap. To feel no difference in up

and down. To get the soporific

movement of the sea but neither its lifting

or its breaking dreams. Never to raise

a single velvet curtain of a dream. Still, to touch

as near to life as music does. To go to no

lengths, great or small. No distance,

then, no ground to cover.

 

 

 

WAFER ASH

 

Like burning paper or shaved

ice, you’ll always appeal

for a bit more time. I’ve

tried to read your leaflets

wherever you’ve tacked

them up. When I catch

up to you I find you covered

with excrescence. Your raised

pours are chiefly there for

gaseous exchange. I do

not accuse you of lying

to the wind. Your fruit

has winter interest. It may

be more endearing than

your bloom. The tune

is green and vital if I hear

you right, a quantum

percussion nature drums

to the cusp of summer

and fall. When your small

fruits centred in your

shallow drum I thought

of a tambourine before

the metal discs attach.

You were a drum so scant

I could talk through your

skin, a drum for light

and untrained thrills.

In singing they call this

swaying at the back:

it’s joining something

glorious — without the risk

of doing it in.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

has published three books of poetry: Weather Eye Open (University of California Press, 2005), Green is the Orator (University of California Press, 2010), and Loom (Omnidawn Publishing, 2013). Her manuscript, Insofar, was awarded the 2019 Green Rose Prize by Forrest Gander and published by New Issues Press (distrusted by the University of Chicago Press) in April 2020. Poems in Insofar received the 2018 Cecil Hemley Award and the 2019 Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America

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