(for FR)


After the pain of one thing you found
another            less sharp        it tickled
the hurt you kept company
to feel again so you
could go on without
really moving
one more time
from this


On the way to the island what happened
receded like the shoreline you knew 
it grew smaller but you didn’t
find or try or think or see
a way to keep the scale
as it had been before.
Things happened.  That’s no:
no revelation.
It’s not sealed.
But still—


The green light Rohmer wrote of in that film
what did it mean? Can you remember
anything more than the hopeful
expression fading from each
character… is a dream
the grass blown against
the source… is it
that or that
we wake


Sisyphean levity we said our
joy cresting as we turned outside out
ourselves our happiest moments
in rooms four-or five-sided 
by air and earth and trees
we hold that sometimes
us two


Let’s make a prairie one beautiful thing
we will have to remember again 
our agreement to make a way  
out of what we are given
the uprooting terror
of our undoing. First
cut what has been
living here
cut it


Today everything you love weeps and leans
its metaphoric arms to the ground 
pendula           pendula           the trees
take their shape from their parents
even the peashrub sprawls
outward and downward.
Today’s a day
for sitting
down, yes?


No one has come to tell us what we want
to hear is hardly the wondrous thing
existence is though we wonder
whether each opening takes
will take us further on
from from to into
from from to to
from from yes
from from


Chores enough for days and days enough for
whatever we might want time to do
days sweep and cower under breath 
sleeping under the daylight 
bower rocking in wind
we are the baby
the baby cries
what it wants
it wants

Copyright © 2020 by G. E. Patterson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 16, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry-eating in late September.

Copyright © 1980 by Galway Kinnell. From Mortal Acts, Mortal Words (Mariner Books, 1980). Used with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.