Passion & Risk

Stood waiting for the 990

                                            pound animal

                            to fall

        But suddenly

swiveled suddenly, suddenly

                                            the bull’s enormous

                    enraged head swiveled

                                                        and the curving

        horn caught him       José Cubero known

                                                                            as Yijo, “little

                                            boy,” at the last

                    minute gored

as the sun was setting

                                as he delivered the estocada

                                                                    his final sword


and the crowd rose as one

                                and twilight gasped

        This bull has killed me

                                            his best friend said

                    were his final words

piercing him through the heart        


of its left horn and

                                            standing him

                                                        straight up in the air

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


                     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.