Today's poem is by Leslie Ullman

Sky: An Inquiry

—after a line by Octavio Paz

Light is laying waste the heavens . . .
but how does one lay waste to
absence? The heavens. Euphemism

for container that is no container
at all. Antithesis of place.
I let my thoughts disappear into
a blue that somehow makes

this sand, this late-summer
grass, the neighbors' white barn
and red horse trailer unmistakably

part of the earth's curve—
earth, a pebble. As am I
perched upon it, glad that
what's before me is not concrete

or cinderblock or steel, but the tans and
greens one would see from outer space.
Petunia calmly notes none of this,

arranging herself like an ornament
on the desk before me—she too
is a heavens in her unique
black-and-whiteness—just what loops

and detours of ancestry produced
those asymmetrical black
smudges on her chin and left paw?

Perhaps light lays some kind of
waste if nightfall
contains us within a boundary
we might touch if we had to

but if I sent myself into that dark
as I do into this blue, I think
I'd discover I had no body

at all, and the stars no longer
where their light tells us they are.
Like this brown and green late-
summer desert, the barn and trailer,

the birds pecking my pomegranates
to shreds, and me and Petunia
here in the house. Today, there isn't

a single cloud or contrail or whisper
of haze. I try, but it's impossible
not to consider that blue, that
clearly infinite but decisive blue

as a presence. Something planned.

Copyright © 2006 Leslie Ullman All rights reserved
from Iron Horse Literary Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Support Verse Daily
Sponsor Verse Daily!

Home    Archives   Web Monthly Features    About Verse Daily   FAQs  Submit to Verse Daily   Publications Noted & Received  

Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved