Emerson Susquehanna (ii. & ceased from our God of rhetoric)

But I don’t know
            their names—rust

worked under each
            wing like sweat

lunettes; synthetic
            silk crest stitched

to a white head;
            small gears completely

grease preening
            ash, mechanical

sheen of oil,

this description eats
            and screams

squanders territory.
            What use is it

to see? Faith
             the world is knowable?

There are ways
             to understand

and none is living
             or lyric, limp

or stutter.
             If I send a letter

(this sudden utter
             other means

than speech)
             when I don’t

know to love
             language other

than to run
             a larceny

all machine and god-
             likeness, gear

and hinge, pocket
             watch, tie-

pin, money clip and wing
             tip, my father’s

impostor I am
             then, my words

a mere guess at
             what isn’t. It isn’t

mastery I’m after.
             It’s certain

other terms
             than my own

I wait for. For
             instance : birds

without names
             fly anyway

             up the ladder

cast from visible
             to invisible—is it

it only seems
             there’s a way

to know the way?


From Sight Map (University of California Press, 2009) by Brian Teare. Copyright © 2009 by Brian Teare. Used with the permission of the author.