In honor of National Poetry Month, The Thread is celebrating Poetry Fridays. Each Friday in April, we will publish a selection of poetry from local independent publishing houses Graywolf Press, Milkweed Editions and Coffee House Press.
Today's selections come from Dana Gioia, William Brewer and Dawn Lundy Martin.
Give me a landscape made of obstacles,
of steep hills and jutting glacial rock,
where the low-running streams are quick to flood
the grassy fields and bottomlands.
no engineers can master—where the roads
must twist like tendrils up the mountainside
on narrow cliffs where boulders block the way.
Where tall black trunks of lightning-scalded pine
push through the tangled woods to make a roost
for hawks and swarming crows.
And sharp inclines
where twisting through the thorn-thick underbrush,
scratched and exhausted, one turns suddenly
to find an unexpected waterfall,
not half a mile from the nearest road,
a spot so hard to reach that no one comes—
a hiding place, a shrine for dragonflies
and nesting jays, a sign that there is still
one piece of property that won't be owned.
Early Oxyana: An Anecdote
We were so hungry; Tom's hand
on the table looked like warm bread.
I crushed it with a hammer
then walked him to the ER to score pills.
Why'd you keep hitting, he asked.
I don't know. And I didn't. The nurse
asked what happened. Tails, I said.
Excuse me? He called tails, I said.
But it was heads. It's always heads.
To sing the blue song of longing—
its webbed feet along jungle floor. What of our mechanical arm,
our off-melody? Purpose in the gathering, I know, dear self. It rains
and we think, God, or we think Universe. I say, portent across the wind.
When wind is wrought, whole song fallen from its lip, some black
unknown. What speech into hard god breath just as night park is godless?
What of a silver cube in the mouth? This is our wandering.