Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Letter to Borges from London

When I was a boy I made a beehive
From old letters—dark scraps from a trunk,
Lost loves; assurances from travelers.
It was intricate work.
The blind kid and the worker bee lost whole days.
I made a library for inchworms.

Now I’m a natural philosopher but with the same restless hands.
Some days I put cities together—
Santiago and Carthage;
Toronto and Damascus.
If strangers watch closely, Borges,
They’ll see my fingers working at nothing.

In Hyde Park near the Albert Memorial and alone on a bench
I reconstructed the boroughs of New York—
Brooklyn was at the center, Kyoto in place of Queens.
This was a city of bells and gardens, a town for immigrants.
The old woman passing by saw my hands at work.
She thought I was a lost blind man, a simpleton,
Said, “Poor Dearie!” and gave me a quid.

Credit


From Letters to Borges (Copper Canyon Press, 2013). Copyright © 2013 by Stephen Kuusisto. Used with the permission of the author.

Author


Stephen Kuusisto

Stephen Kuusisto is the author of the poetry collections Letters to Borges (Copper Canyon Press, 2013) and Only Bread, Only Light (Copper Canyon Press, 2000). 

Date Published: 2017-10-18

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/letter-borges-london