Published on Academy of American Poets (


You say wind is only wind
& carries nothing nervous
in its teeth.
        I do not believe it.

I have seen leaves desist
                        from moving
although the branches
                      move, & I
believe a cyclone has secrets
the weather is ignorant of.
                           I believe
in the violence of not knowing.

I've seen a river lose its course
& join itself again,
                  watched it court
a stream & coax the stream
into its current,

              & I have seen
rivers, not unlike
                 you, that failed to find
their way back.

                    I believe the rapport
between water & sand, the advent
from mirror to face.

                   I believe in rain
to cover what mourns,
                     in hail that revives
& sleet that erodes, believe
whatever falls
             is a figure of rain

& now I believe in torrents that take
everything down with them.

The sky calls it quits,
                        or so I believe,
when air, or earth, or air
has had enough.

               I believe in disquiet,
the pressure it plies, believe a cloud
to govern the limits of night.

                          I say I,
but little is left to say it, much less
mean it--
           & yet I do.

                        Let there be
no mistake:
        I do not believe
things are reborn in fire.
They're consumed by fire

& the fire has a life of its own.


From Anabranch by Andrew Zawacki. Copyright © 2004 by Andrew Zawacki. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press. All rights reserved.


Andrew Zawacki

Andrew Zawacki is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Videotape (Counterpath Press, 2013). His other books include Petals of Zero Petals of One (Talisman House, 2009), Anabranch (Wesleyan, 2004), By Reason of Breakings (Georgia, 2002), and his fifth collection, Unsun : f/11 is forthcoming from Coach House Books in 2019. He was a Howard Foundation Fellow in Poetry from 2015-2016 at Brown University, and currently is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Georgia.

Date Published: 2004-01-01

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