In the Congaree

Samuel Amadon

I’m home. I’m not home. I’m on the road or
Off it, briefly. I’ve been out of place. I’ve been

Taking familiar walks. I like the boardwalk. I like
The swamp. I feel ill at ease. I feel fine.

As August ends, I’m thick and cold. As I circle
Above a tide of cypress knees, of webs,

Fallen trunks and leaves, I gather out
The mud a mossy repose. A violent mist.

A green allure. I have spoken into
A dead and standing pool of air, where,

In its center, a spider hangs. I can hear myself
Moving, notes taken on paper, on

My feet, I stop and that makes a sound.
I look out into what feels ancient. It

Doesn’t seem old. My voice is spun.
I’m rolling out myself last rung by rung.

I pinned my eye to the base of a loblolly pine,
And rose, much higher than I would

Suppose. I know everything already. I have to
Ask people questions. All of my relatives

Are famous. There are so many people dead.
Look at these trees. They’re shattered in pieces.

They’re tall and full. I look forward, steadily,
At the moss grown high as the flood.
 

More by Samuel Amadon

Without Discussion

What people said, what left the table dark.
None stayed inside the house, nor close around.
Each direction its direction bound.
Like when you leave the arcing thing to arc.
Like papers gather papers in the park.
We note the wind is what can't hold the ground.
While hearing transfer stations fill with sound.
And let the city alter a remark
a little further from explaining what
was meant. A creak again or just a creak
right then. Like leaning forward on the cart.
A structure falls to stay its every strut.
I'd like to speak. I said I'd like to speak.
And someone sighs, they broke the silent part.

Days of Future Dwell

A dance professor around
her white house, which
windowed, countered,
surfaced with keys, bags,

a listing a broker found
he was proud to sell.
As grass is covered
with grass that’s mown,

why not be happy again
to find your schedule in
your hand, and all things
well. The squirrels leapt

off the branch that fell.
The technical part with
all the pieces lining up,
or already there, at work:

a something to do with
why I pick the tack
from the floor, why I
finger it like a shell. Say

the songs get longer and
the days—all of it—you
can hear it all coming,
if you’ve tied to it a bell.

 

About this poem:
"For a long time, I couldn't understand how people could write in quatrains and still look themselves in the mirror. And now, for some reason, they just feel calm and right."

Samuel Amadon

Poem in July

I felt perfected along the rectangle 
By its ragged side

Fences trees and mist dropping
Some space for the flowers

I set an image in my head where
Bushes in their out of focus

Made a green dearth about the door
I wanted to do a book on

Pages left in the heat or rain
But my desire seemingly disappeared

Picked up by a car in the middle of
A pack of cigarettes

This trip into the forest
The trees trading with memory to

Frame the various breaks
The pleasures of small laws cut

Behind the mower with my eyes
Running the grass blades

We don’t really get any older
I can see what that means
 

Related Poems

I Saw the Devil with His Needlework

The air was like a bullet made out of silk
I saw him at the curb
on old upholstery  
saw him with his counted-thread-point
and tent-stitch, bent over an embroidery hoop
the trees lifted their drunk limbs and leaves
while the evening
looked through a succession of windows
into other people’s rooms
the evening was a powerful gun
the evening had an Uzi
broad evening
in a neighborhood full of translucent teens
sucking on one another’s backpacks
filling up the trains with their heat
their intelligence pouring out into the street, sobbing—
I saw the devil with his sewing threads
making something special for me
and it wasn’t thunder
it was perfect clouds
I saw the devil with his stitching techniques
textiles and shadow
saw his hands that never stopped
the clean amp of his forehead
tight intervals of flowers in his teeth
bright as an earing in the drain
and I made a force field with the wilderness in my face
and a fortune-teller’s neon sign
that glowed a painted light onto the street
and I said his name
and his crimes
three times against a curse
and found a coin on the ground and read the tiny date
and blessed a bag of weed
and a wild bore
I left my bones and my scars
and went out
like a poltergeist
totally empty