Published on Academy of American Poets (

Cloud Hands

A woman moves through a Cloud Hands position,
                        holding and rotating

an invisible globe—thud, shattering glass, moan,
                        horn blast—so many

worlds to this world—two men dipnet
                        sockeye salmon

at the mouth of a river—from a rooftop, a seagull
                        squawks and cries;

a woman moves through Grasp the Bird’s Tail
                        someone on a stretcher

is wheeled past glass doors—a desert fivespot
                        rises in a wash—

and, pressing her tongue to the roof
                        of her mouth,

she focuses, in the near distance, on the music
                        of sycamore leaves.


From Sight Lines. Copyright © 2019 by Arthur Sze. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Copper Canyon Press. 


Arthur Sze

Born in New York City in 1950, Arthur Sze is the author of nine books of poetry, including Compass Rose (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). He served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2012 to 2017.

Date Published: 2019-04-04

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