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


A Muse

He winds through the party like wind, one of the just 
who live alone in black and white, bewildered

by the eden of his body. (You, you talk like winter 
rain.) He's the meaning of almost-morning walking home 

at five A.M., the difference a night makes 
turning over into day, simple birds staking claims 

on no sleep. Whatever they call those particular birds. 
He's the age of sensibility at seventeen, he isn't worth

the time of afternoon it takes to write this down. 
He's the friend that lightning makes, raking 

the naked tree, thunder that waits for weeks to arrive; 
he's the certainty of torrents in September, harvest time 

and powerlines down for miles. He doesn't even know 
his name. In his body he's one with air, white as a sky

rinsed with rain. It's cold there, it's hard to breathe, 
and drowning is somewhere to be after a month of drought. 

Credit


"A Muse" from Some Are Drowning, by Reginald Shepherd. Copyright © 1995. Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.

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: 1995-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/muse-0