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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 ever splitting

a single fruit 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

or 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.

Never around the mossy depth of wells.

Never a question of holiness, the steadfast

eye of subterranean water.

Never to wear entanglements

of air and blood. Never to see

the salmon leap. To feel no difference

between up and down. To get the soporific

movement of the sea

but neither its lifting or breaking

dreams. Never to feel the velvet curtain

dropping at the end. To touch as near to life

as music does. To have gone to no great lengths.

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.

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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