A thinnest sliver
Of new moon light

At the horn tips of mule deer
Turned toward us

Their dark eyes don’t know
Our dry heels imitate the mountains

“Women imitate the earth”

House finches, quaking,
Imitate chambers

Like Daniel’s prints saying freedom

without love posted along the outskirts
Men wielded mirrors at men

Making of each the other’s babies
Spun ‘round

While the rest of us stayed in bed

And in our closed eyes felt the touch
Of light was a given
To use if we felt like it

As Aleppo pines thread deserts
Still silent in their roots
We will get up

In a movie about us
We’ll go to a higher desert
Only the thinnest air in our way

Released, certain accents will flare

Our mouths saying,
“Suppose one is bred an immigrant”
Citrus groves having been husbanded

Somewhere behind you
And you don’t get too precious
Like things are very small, really

They just turn over and get lost

Across several versions of the portrait
Ragged edged, the mirror, its useful mercury
Sonorous behind the glass, almost a return

Before first light assembles the blue

Then what can we tell?

We took a dialect
From a lineage they took
Only as far as the mountains

We know how to get thin and turn,
Saying, “I’m not
really interested in my affect”

However mannered,
The poem says back

Copyright © 2022 by Farid Matuk. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 17, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.