—or rhubarb?
Scant difference between some flowers
and the heads of cauliflowers the fingers get
herbaceous rubbing against. If I could get
ecstatic I would by the low soft
weeds, the hard oracular orifices of tree bark.
Some landscapes under duress
predict this atonal sky.
Scant difference between flowers.
The canned cool metal slightly
curves, of trash receptacles,
meadow interregna, strange
fanciful flights, toward toward.
Where the rhubarb field is not so bright
red as you would think, not so precise
or fulminating, too much green sticks
out, stems and leaves like a fuzz
of voices, watery incarnadine,

here where the sounds so simplify
the milieu into that wetness there,
here I stumble
to approximate the durations of others, to appear
of the same time as though of space,
I worry terribly, I hesitate, I lose my measure, a juice
trickles down my side,
रस ರಸ.
I get I’m out of tune.

Copyright © 2018 by Aditi Machado. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 19, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Oddly enough, ‘Rhapsody’ began as an essay for a class on prosody taught by Graham Foust. Now there is a series of poems with the same title, all dealing with sound and landscape. I seem to have been especially intrigued by moments when language slips into sounding like ‘just music,’ or ‘pure,’ or ‘noise,’ while remaining attentive to the anxiety-laden artifact of accent. It may be useful to know that रस and ರಸ are, respectively, the Hindi and Kannada words for juice. Both sound a bit like rust without the t.”
—Aditi Machado