Madonna del Parto

Forrest Gander
And then smelling it,
feeling it before
the sound even reaches
him, he kneels at
cliff’s edge and for the
first time, turns his
head toward the now
visible falls that
gush over a quarter-
mile of uplifted sheet-
granite across the valley
and he pauses,
lowering his eyes
for a moment, unable
to withstand the
tranquility—vast, unencumbered,
terrifying, and primal. That
naked river
enthroned upon
the massif altar,
bowed cypresses
congregating on both
sides of sun-gleaming rock, a rip
in the fabric of the ongoing
forest from which rises—
as he tries to stand, tottering, half-
paralyzed—a shifting
rainbow volatilized by
ceaseless explosion.

More by Forrest Gander

Eye Against Eye [excerpt]

As if nothing were wrong egrets dip-feed in near shore channels

the human genome reveals chromosomes from parasites

annexed by our DNA long ago

mongrels to the core and tourists

with cameras take the front pews

the enemy blows himself up at Passover dinner

the enemy trembles in a cave starving

the enemy lets go a daisy cutter

a million cubic feet of mud slides down the slope

toward a single bungalow in Laguna Beach

Witness

                     for Jean-Luc Mylayne

Or the vision that holds 

at its razorpoint 

the feathers of a bird 

goes blue. Each sleepless-

ness framed, behind,

by this whine

of insects. So a shutter,

lifted, offers 

to looking

the very oracular

interior of that

openness into which bird 

inserts itself. Its song 

shortening when 

there is wind. Comes

the visible and 

its remainder, a

blur, what? Tittering 

at lower and lower 

luminance. That the 

accompaniment might be

sufficiently responsive.

Related Poems

Imaginary Waterfall

You could ask any one of them up by the lake
                                               It had presence

Fold of coldness folded over cold

The rumors of what was beyond
                                         mostly worthless

You had to take into account who was telling
                                                the story and      

for whose ends

 

 

Against the dark of her intuition
                                 an unrelenting stream

of light starting  to set like cement

some mildew tingeing  the dream since

its uniform had not been
                                               properly kept

 

Where her love stood

until he stepped behind the overhang
                          the synesthesia of his name                   

a silver helmet ringing
                                                  when struck