Today's poem is by Bryan Penberthy
Places like this aren't invented.
The cold, industrial polish of this city
skews light, and what it reflects
it returns badly. Splitting the landscape,
an obsidian river carves
silhouettes of brush and rocks, banks strewn with mica
and quartz shards, pale smoke frozen
in crystal. A storm-split oak arcs into
bridge-lit water, a coral
reef suspended in dandelion wine. The trees
buildings seem submerged.
I know so little
about things that matter. How
to be a good man. Why rivers are constantly
moving, apparently toward
ends that mean completion. Whether, drinking
their waters, I would forget
these twilightsthe smell of wet brick and broken pines,
indigo and sapphire-troubled
skiesor drown. My distracted heart beats codes
I'm unable to translate.
The only ritual I know how to perform
is rubbing the sleep from my eyes.
Copyright © 2006 Bryan Penberthy All rights reserved
from New Orleans Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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