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
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
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
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
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).