Away from leaf touch, from twig. Away from the markings and evidence of others. Beyond the shale night filling with rain. Beyond the sleepy origin of sadness. Back, back into the ingrown room. The place where everything loved is placed, assembled for memory. The delicate hold and tender rearrangement of what is missing, like certain words, a color reflected off water a few years back. Apricots and what burns. It has obtained what it is. Sweet with a stone. Sweet with the concession of a few statements, a few lives it will touch without bruising.
First published in American Poet. Copyright © 2010 by Carl Adamshick. From Curses and Wishes (Louisiana State University Press, 2011). Used by permission of the author.
Already, we'd be driving past those trees, that part of the forest. Even briefly, it refreshed you. It was like mint in August though that sting would be gone with summer. The ground tarnishing first, and soon the leaves. I thought then, men don't stop. They want so much to get on. What we said, incidental yet hammered into the mind. Talk like a magnet, so it draws you together or away. We made a line around that part of the forest, the exact shape of our attention. Even after, I remember how it was taken up and moved along with us, into the dim living room. Each holding a glass, ice colliding in water. A tiny mirrored sun caught in the trees. The same sadness that darkened our features. Later, bed without making love, without the chance of a reprieve.
"Mint" from Not To: New & Selected Poems, published by The Sheep Meadow Press. Copyright © 2006 by Elaine Terranova. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone
to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small
to be to you just object and thing,
dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions,
where something is up,
to be among those in the know,
or else be alone.
I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection,
never be blind or too old
to uphold your weighty wavering reflection.
I want to unfold.
Nowhere I wish to stay crooked, bent;
for there I would be dishonest, untrue.
I want my conscience to be
true before you;
want to describe myself like a picture I observed
for a long time, one close up,
like a new word I learned and embraced,
like the everday jug,
like my mother's face,
like a ship that carried me along
through the deadliest storm.
English translation, translator's introduction, and translator's notes copyright © 2001 by Annemarie S. Kidder. Published 2001. All rights reserved.