937. The Flood, by James Richardson (from "Under Water")

So even having heard the news, I stayed
by the bay window, page unturning,
as the water rose, as it was growing
unsuddenly out of the air, like evening,
wetless, exactly body temperature,
and with such slight adjustment, breathable,
that only my slowing hands showed it was there.

Like your Listen! as it branches up a stairwell,
or your voice at a question's end, it rose.
With a faint jangle of hangers, closets were emptied,
with a soft shuddering, the drawers,
and the walls subsiding and the lapse of doors
were an old song played back too slowly,
the I and love now moaning youuu and ohhh.

And I heard (because sound travels under water)
the dinner mutter of my neighbors,
untroubled, nothing about the water,
though there passed from left to right across my window
what must have been their furniture,
and to the glass loomed momentarily
and open-mouthed one or the other of their daughters.

Swallows, without a wingbeat, pour through evening
slowly as floaters dimly behind my gaze,
the phone rings, ember-slow, and streetlamps,
slowly as dragged-on cigarettes, grow strong.
The luster of eyes is an hour rising or draining,
and lightning of revelation, when it comes,
is a hand passing slowly down my face.

A glass of daffodils (for spring is floodtime)
at these depths is a blowless yellow gale,
the piano, in a haze of keys, faint savor.
Reach of my arms for reachlessness,
bay of my gaze now lessening in blue,
and all I have called my body: held notes failing,
as if I were being remembered, but vaguely.

Source: Interglacial: New and Selected Poems & Aphorisms

No comments:

Post a Comment