Published on Academy of American Poets (


The shore of the lake is gradual and drawn
With rivers threading into land
Then suddenly it’s all land
Now the land is dark
And you can’t distinguish it from the water
And the hot orange sun
Turns everything dark purple
Like a painting by Joan Mitchell

It is unknowable
It is knowable
It is a sum of these
It is not without birds and animals
He is very elegant and kind
Her intellectual complexion
It is a beautiful word
The flank of their poem goes to the lake
To enter sweet new time
Trees express the sky energetically
So do they
With all the rarity of tenderness
Like the place where the base of the vase touches earth
To speak into time deeply
All the animals lie down together
This is what they prefer
It is explicitly their preference
New roses happen
Their Latin pleats
Together they harbor the intimate excess of philosophy
Which loves gardens

Now admire their breadth
Every flower is inverted
And what the flower produces
Is unknown
You call this beauty
As a way to express care
Now call it wildrose

Wildrose is resourceful
Its geophysiology is vast
It threw runners
To make landbridge
It threw pollen
With voracious joy

Underground network of wildrose
Linking all the political lovers
And infinite breathing flesh
In each temporality experienced
Is resurgent insurrection
The form of life of wildrose
Is experiment in relationship
Also named Plex

Earth the tousled rosebed!
From which the brocaded and tarnishing yardgoods unfurl
Some of the bronze threads blackening
So that the ornate pattern is obscured
Like dusk in a borderless tableau
It glows from beneath
Now time ripples from beneath
Now they enter dusk’s happiness
Rosebed is the lovepoem

Belly and horizon!
Wildrose suckers freely from underground stems and roots
Forming dense colonies that run wild
This wedding names everyone wildrose.


Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Robertson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 9, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“‘Plex’ is an epithalamium written to help celebrate the summer wedding of Sara Marcus and Roy Scranton. Sara says: ‘At the mic on the town common, we traded stanzas. We read the final lines in unison. We named everyone wildrose. Everyone bloomed. We stomped the wide old plank floors in the town hall; I did a cartwheel at some point; we circled and spiraled and lifted; we made an ecstatic caesura that lasted all weekend.’”
—Lisa Robertson


Lisa Robertson

Lisa Robertson is the author of numerous books of poems, including 3 Summers (Coach House Books, 2016) and R's Boat (University of California Press, 2010).

Date Published: 2017-02-09

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