To the New Journal

after W. S. Merwin
Let’s just listen—  
before the spent words and the hidden nests
of sentences begin, before the musical count
of vowels and consonants, the ink
not yet slippery with wild grief
or souped-up grandeur.
I wish to arrange you—
with a few half-formed couplets—
inquiries without answers.
But what can we do? These mountains are still
young and rising, I write. Yet,
even the fields call to an orchestra of stars.
Even the birds sing to-do lists.

Copyright © 2018 Susan Rich. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2018.