Bruce Bond and Dan Beachy-Quick

Therapon, II, 4-1


And what could be more fortunate     given
the choices rain must have     to be or to be
the ache     that lingers in the phantom vessel
you are not alone     meet me     on the stairs
of our ghost     arrangements     Viagra     Niagara
Suspira     whatever else goes     with wine     sad
as your news     how beautiful of you to bear it
I have seen a cloud twist into an eye     afloat
the earth     alders tore their garments     rocks
of ice flew sideways     out of the approaching
margin     I was staring through a pair of doors
nothing but glass between me and the terrible
marvel     some yards north     one moment     long ago

: 4

The messenger comes and says there is a wound.
There is a wound and there is music. There is
An abandoned car by a bridge. There is music.
There is a mule whose eyes deny the stranger’s
Philosophy. There is a piano. There is a reminder
Of a day long ago playing scales for an eternal
Hour in the middle C of the dove’s call. & a cloud
Of gnats above the water each body a point
In the endless geometric proof writing itself
Before our eyes—the geometry of the wound.
It is everywhere and nowhere. The wound wanders.
It moves through the world as if the world weren’t
There. The messenger points at you, then the moon.


Say this is     a pane of glass that turns into a mirror
at certain angles     the way a fish turns     the image
disappears     and in its place     a face cut from another
order of being     there     one sea surges out of the
sea     it wanders     at night     a little farther from shore
the other grows warmer     every year     one day it will
lay its weeds at my door     to every sea     the million
small decisions of the deep     the new     whose science
has not yet been invented     one day a soul tears its flame
from the architecture     it chills the glasses in the room
if one were the sum of their choices     whose waves
are these     that close     in us     their eyes     whose fish
turn to the face and back     to who they think     they are

: 3

The dark inside the dark my daughter said
Is what she is afraid of is why she will not
Go to sleep. Easy to turn off the lamp
In the room so each corner fills with night.
But why make another night inside yourself
By closing your eyes. A darker night.
& then again as before there is the river
To cross, swollen by memory and by rain,
& the breeze of your mother’s voice
Saying you are not alone even when you know
You are alone. & then the palm tree
Of the far shore. & the owl nesting in the fronds.
A mistaken thought about beauty & death.


Blooms in jars     tell you     earth is somewhere
far away     death     finds another word
to wear     a black to bind     the mirrors
at the party     it is just     that personal
someone reads     a song full of black
birds at the end     another shoreline eats
the shore     that is no end     we know
say     one steps into a boat     that sways
its cradle on the fog     soul     from saiwalo
ancient Norse     for sea     my first word
had a face     and when the face left     it
took that word     the one I heard     the one
I chased with every word     thereafter

: 2

Is is the path I want to be on, where thinking thinks
and is not thought, where saying says but is not said.
I read about the nature of thinking & also I looked.
A man sits on a stone, head on hand, & his fingers
bend backward toward his throat. A gesture of
mourning says a footnote, an asterisk, a star. Or is it
the thinker points at what departs? The herd wary
& the grass wet with morning. & then there is the fear
you feel when an animal fears you, & you want to run
away from yourself. & words then seem to speak
inside you what you could you never tell yourself—
memory is your mother, and she says one word: was.
Mirror-self of the 2nd person. You suck your thumb.


The I that is and the I that was     are sitting on the edge
of the wilderness     inching toward the end     how great
to drink with images     on mute overhead     where news
is     never     new     these outlines     host a flock     of souls
to whom I owe the world     but I too fear the schoolyard
stairwell     to my former terrors     call them words     these
animals who growl at the mirror     I think     the universe
swells and breaks our ribs     so we might crawl out     alive
the mirror tells you     our map of islands     lesions     nation
after nation     sinks into the vellum     but I see boundaries
still     names of rivers     gone dry     the silence of a stranger
I am not yet     the lust in luster     the steam     in the breath
the throated O that is not personal     I hear it everywhere

: 1

The flower is so beautiful you have to draw it
On a page, & the bison so beautiful, & the bird-
Headed man, & the outline of your own hand—
So beautiful you have to draw it. The blind singer
Understands. There in the half-lit after-life grove
Sitting in his folding chair, reciting the ABC’s
To the children who are not there. A brick is
A block of ice; a pyramid is a pillar of snow.
Do plants have a soul? Yes or no. Do stones?
The philosopher sat inside his own shadow.
He said justice is a perfect cube. In the world
Nowhere, not among pinecones or pinwheels,
Is such a cube. You must draw it. Here’s a cave wall.



Dan Beachy-Quick is a poet, essayist, and translator, and his most recent books include Arrows (Tupelo Press) and Stone-Garland (Milkweed Editions), a translation from the ancient Greek lyric tradition. His work has been supported by the Monfort, Lannan, and Guggenheim Foundations. He teaches as Colorado State University where he is a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar.

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-nine books including, most recently, Plurality and the Poetics of Self (Palgrave, 2019), Words Written Against the Walls of the City (LSU, 2019), Scar (Etruscan, 2020), Behemoth (New Criterion Prize, Criterion Books, 2021), The Calling (Parlor, 2021), Patmos (Juniper Prize, UMass, 2021), Liberation of Dissonance (Nicholas Shaffner Award for Literature in Music, Schaffner Press, 2022), and Invention of the Wilderness (LSU, 2022).