Brandon Krieg

Tarquinia

Cats stretch out among the licked-clean
clam and mussel shells
between burial mounds.

The purposes and their gods are written
in backwards Hellenics
on the urns and the replicas.

So it is verified.

I lie by tomb 3679
listening to cicadas raise the old flags
to the hill rim’s dissolving.

Under me underground someone
pushes a button to see
the lit-up cabinet’s

extinct sky.

divider
 

All Forks

I take the lake fork today:
                                 grass gives way to
saplings, bushes, vines,
                                 every type
                                 of branching thing. My eye
                                 picks a red-barked
                      bush from the field’s edge:
                      forks in threes radiate
                      around the red
                      main-stem,
                      but
symmetry
                      eludes me:
                                 up through
                                 their flexible predilections
                                 these
                                 forks radiate
in relation to every other fork-
                                                                  in-the-field’s sun-seeking,
                      raising a staggering
                      dynamism
of caught
droplet lights. The ways one eye could trace
                                 from fork to fork
                      across the field balk
                      calculation. Still, I long
to take all forks at once,
                                 to find a formula by which
upper prairie, frozen marsh, dry creek-bed might
                      condense to an infinitesimal
                                 equilibrium of
                                 deep structure
                                 and surface
                                 tension, yet
one touch
of this red branch and beads slide
                      into beads,
                      shiver free, re-
                      coalesce at new
                                            coordinates
                                            on the bush.
The way is newly
lighted as

the iced-over snowed-over lake in cloudbreak is
                      brilliant, and, ice melted,
                                            under cloud, is
                                                                  dull,

so that the number of forks must be multiplied by
                      the number of days, hours, less—
and to take each way in each

combination, even in this meager preserve,
would take more attention than many lifetimes contain.

What a choice, then,
to walk this moment this brilliant
edge

of lake and sky.

 


Brandon Krieg is author of a poetry collection, Invasives (New Rivers Press), a finalist for the 2015 ASLE Book Award in Environmental Creative Writing, and a chapbook, Source to Mouth (DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in BOMB, Conjunctions, Crazyhorse, FIELD, West Branch, Witness, and many other journals.