About this Poem 

"When I need inspiration, I often turn to the poems of Larry Levis. This particular poem came into being after a re-reading of Levis’s strange, beautiful poem 'The Map.'"
—Ryan Teitman

Another Country

Ryan Teitman

The days unfold
like maps. Fresh dirt
in the garden, black
as cake, grows warm.

The roses perform
a silent recital,
each playing its part
from memory. I wait

for my father the way
men wait for a train.
I wait for my father
the way a dancer

waits for music.
My mother is a curtain
in the window.
She calls me in

to fit my shadow
for a suit. I keep still
as she pinches the tape
around its wrist.

Around her neck
my mother’s pearls
clink like teeth.
Your shadow grows

faster than you do,
she says. She says
that waiting is
a kind of dancing.

At night I dance
with the stillness.
My blood waits
behind my chest

like a man behind
a locked door.
My father waits
in another country.

Copyright © 2014 by Ryan Teitman. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on January 9, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2014 by Ryan Teitman. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on January 9, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Ryan Teitman