Poems of the Week



The Sun Is Shining Above Europe

I’m still walking on damp sand
flat-footedly pressing upon the history

of the sea. Clouds are shedding from my body.
The day already fuller than usual

and the light lets its petals
fall all over your neck.

Previously I saw people carrying
thick bouquets of leeks, big as a meter.

Now the cold is spilling over the city
and outside on the doorknob

hangs a bag with two leeks,
upright and more ordinary in size,

while on the shellfish ever less visible
pearls are forming—toward the end of the year

everything returns to its usual routine.
Neglected thoughts are arching

through me, the city walking on me,
wrapped in a woman’s hair for a scarf.

I’d forgotten everything about this poem.
At times, the hand that softly holds us

suspended in air, shakes us like salt.
Of all the lives I don’t live, this one

is the best.

Translated from Slovenian by Laura Soloman and the author


Carousel, Ten Days after His Third Transfusion

I watch the horse
my son is riding
glide into gallop. Forward,

around: the proud, cratered
nose, serrated mane,
coat like black water.

Up! Down! my son calls, giddy,
holding the stake
driven through its body.


Verge of Summer

All I wanted to say was something

about you, the pears—or were they plums—left
out on the table—and reading this again

always recalls Cezanne, his world always
tilting toward landscape

each thing in it a visual event existing
at all times, there—the morning’s gray

lifting, and rising I would have seen you

asleep, your hair floating across pillows

and think of which flower—asphodel

is it, or tulips still closed against
the night’s coolness

under the cherry tree’s greening
fruit, and what was that music we heard

then, reminding me always of you, like the flowers
and fruit, asleep before

I step out, and down
stairs, to feed the cats, that swirl down

the stairs, the world still

verdant—there are words I still love
as we all must

perhaps, like verge of summer
coming new

as never before, each time

knowing there will be one less


Extinction Event

To burst in your mind with costly grace.

To mass in your faceted syllables.

The arrested movement of time; hours
in clusters, overripe.

Hours, like broken offshoots,
flourishing as they can;

possibilities in sleeves of limitation.
Whorled taut, each brittle

node to a flushed
bud, last needles

embossed in clay.
That we break

from your tongue
and now tease ash,

stitches of a titian


all from Crazy Horse 78 (2010), Ed. Garrett Doherty

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