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


Did Not Come Back

In the roan hour between then & then again, the now, in the Babel
Of a sorrel ship gone horizontal to a prow of night, the breach of owls

Abducted by broad light, but blind, in the crime, the titanesque of rare
Assault—we who have come back—petitioning, from the chair

Electric with bad news, from the stunning, from the narrows
Of an evening gall, from the mooring of an hour slanted on the follow

Bow, she rose from a bed of Ireland like a flyted trout, a shiny
Marvel on the sailor's deck, an apologia—divining—

As once, as at a salted empire port, he washed
Her fleeted body & they lied, the best of them, the cream & crush

Of this, the madrigal & sacrifice of that, the best of them,
The slowest velvet suffocation of their kind, did not come

Whittled back by autumn, at an hour between thorn & chaff,
Not come riddled with oblivion, the crossing & a shepherd's staff,

The moment between Have & Shall Not Want, we who have salt
Always know, that we who have—the best of us—did not come back.

Credit


From The Master Letters by Lucie Brock-Broido, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Copyright © 1997 by Lucie Brock-Broido. Reprinted by permission of the the publisher and author. All rights reserved.

Author


Lucie Brock-Broido

Lucie Brock-Broido served for many years as the director of poetry in the writing division of Columbia University's School of the Arts.

Date Published: 1997-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/did-not-come-back