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


Occurrences across the Chromatic Scale

The way air is at the same time
intimate and out of reach

(a void with light inside it
turned on a wheel of wheres) 

Stars' lease on sky expires, breathes 
in leisures of sparrows, wrens

and casual trees, wet sidewalks
twittering with tattered news, old

leaves (hollow bones and branches)
wind of wish and which and boys

waiting for white kisses, rain 
of feathers, clouds saving their later 

Suppose this sunlight, day split open 
suppose these senses and the information

carried, thing and news of the thing
repeating place, location of position

Birds, for example, remembered
fluttering torn terms, congregations 

shimmer of hummingbirds 
but when does one see more than one

tumbling bright flesh (sky 
at hand) pleating afternoon, banking 

on mere atmosphere, primary
colors dividing white into 

three clean halves (red, green, 
blue-bitter berries rasp, crabapples

crush underfoot), the spectrum
says don't stop there

(smudged light a lapse of attention)
there's never enough world for you 

Credit


"Occurrences across the Chromatic Scale" from Otherhood: Poems, by Reginald Shepherd. Copyright © 2003. 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: 2003-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/occurrences-across-chromatic-scale