About this poet

Michael McGriff is the coauthor (with J. M. Tyree) of Our Secret Life in the Movies (A Strange Object, 2014) and the author of Home Burial (Copper Canyon Press, 2012). He teaches at The Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, and lives in Austin.

Opening Gambit

Michael McGriff

Two decommissioned highways cross
and continue toward their borders
with the casual certainty
the dead carry in their sample cases.
Leaning against the wind
I notice tufts of fur in the air
and a driveshaft rising from the sand,
then the horsehair of a violinist's bow
drawn steadily across my neck.



About this poem:
"Something I've always found meaningful and bewitching is a short poem's ability to exist at the crossroads of vastly real and vastly metaphorical landscapes—the universe captured in a fleeting, image-driven shapshot. Charles Simic claims there is a 'religion of the short poem,' and I think he's right. As for the poems I've been working on over the past year, which include 'Opening Gambit,' I've found myself at the altar of Yannis Ritos, James Wright, and John Haines."

Michael McGriff

Copyright © 2013 by Michael McGriff. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 15, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Michael McGriff. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 15, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Michael McGriff

Michael McGriff is the coauthor (with J. M. Tyree) of Our Secret Life in the Movies (A Strange Object, 2014) and the author of Home Burial (Copper Canyon Press, 2012). He teaches at The Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, and lives in Austin.

by this poet

poem

Because when I saw a horse
cross a river
separating two countries
and named it Ghost Rubble
it said No my name is 1935
because it also spoke in tongues
as it crossed the black tongue
of the water
because it still arcs through me
with its zodiac
of shrapnel-bright