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


Syntax

Occasionally a god speaks to you,
rutted tollway a flint knife breaching
gutted fields hung on event

horizon, clear cut contradiction
through soybeans and sheared corn: blue
pickup an orange blaze, white letters

blistered, boiling down to tarmac,
asphalt, sulfur fume cured by a methane
gas burn-off pipe, blue flame chipped

with white raising a buttress of weather
-burnt bricks, flaking wind
totem. We stopped to take some cargo

on, weighted October with a freight
of waiting snow traveling east, panic of
starlings startled from stubble husks

by a harvest moon dangled directly
ahead: drove into the pitted sphere, bloody
pearl punched in a sky just out of reach

(vanishing point retreating, peeling),
one of the yellowed streetlights
by now, dimming, diminishing. The road

says to perspective, wait.

Credit


"Syntax," from Otherhood: Poems by Reginald Shepherd. Copyright © 2003 by Reginald Shepherd. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.

Author


Reginald Shepherd

Reginald Shepherd was born on April 10, 1963, in New York City. His poetry collection Otherhood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003), was a finalist for the 2004 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.

Date Published: 2003-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/syntax