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About this Poem 

"This poem is from a long form project/book I'm working on called Rocket Fantastic. The poem also has a lot to do with my own visual/neurological difference called nystagmus and the sense that what I am seeing might not really be there or might be becoming something closer to real as I look at it. I'm interested in the way the body and the landscape (particularly the light) become indistinguishable from each other at points in the poem."
Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Rocket Fantastic [excerpt]

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

He's really beautiful. When he's standing in the trees like that and thinks nobody sees him. He's like a stag. Which sounds silly but he is. The way the light shines on him. The way it bounces off his hair like spray from the sprinkler. And he doesn't know it right then. Because he's looking somewhere else. Maybe up at a bird. I was standing a few feet away and turned back because I heard him whistling when he thought I wasn't listening. He wasn't thinking of me. He was looking at a bird who was sitting in the tree and looking back at him. If his shirt was off he'd have been dappled golden in the sun coming through the leaves. He didn't notice me watching him without his shirt on. He was standing in the forest and the sun was coming through the trees and covering him so he glowed. I knew he'd be warm if I walked up and touched him. And probably not mad. He's like something in a movie or like a book we'd read in summer by the pool. He didn't see me looking because he was so peaceful staring at the bird.

Copyright © 2013 by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 10, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 10, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Calvocoressi's awards and honors include a Stegner Fellowship, a Jones Lectureship at Stanford University and a Rona Jaffe Women Writers' Award

by this poet

poem
It's ridiculous what fame
can buy you. Not the beast
but the tiny, frightened
man who brings him
in a cage from Alhambra,
who stands in the doorway
as the three girls finish,
get off the bed and walk down 
to the pool, giggling as they pass.
The Bandleader borrowed
a tiger because we saw it 
in a reel the studio
poem
It isn't how we look up close
so much as in dreams.

Our giant is not so tall,
our lizard boy merely flaunts

crusty skin- not his fault 
they keep him in a crate

and bathe him maybe once a week.
When folks scream or clutch their hair

and poke at us and glare and speak
of how we slithered up from Hell,

it is
poem
Some lose children in lonelier ways:
tetanus, hard falls, stubborn fevers

that soak the bedclothes five nights running.
Our two boys went out to skate, broke

through the ice like battleships, came back
to us in canvas bags: curled

fossils held fast in ancient stone,
four hands reaching. Then two

sad beds