Brian Henry is the author of five books of poetry, most recently The Stripping Point (Counterpath). His translation of the Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun’s Woods and Chalices (Harcourt) appeared in 2008, and his translation of Aleš Šteger’s The Book of Things is forthcoming from BOA Editions. A Serbian edition of Henry’s poems will appear in 2010. His sixth book, Wings Without Birds, is forthcoming from Salt Publishing.
Reign of Blisters
Swimming with baby alligator in the trench,
you hug it to you, stay afloat.
The rain unfurled by Hurricane Kate
seeps through the slab, the carpet drenched.
I uncoil the wet/dry vac in the garage,
the alligator wants to nurse—
it roots on your arm as it would the house,
does not know the house is a mirage
spun by weather patterns north of here.
Something is bound to drop soon:
that is the nature of atmosphere.
You yawn, acknowledge the moon
wiped clean by what dominates the near,
the sky, my sleep. This life, our cartoon.
[title from Peter Rose]
Blind to the cat
that’s never caught
a live thing
the hamster freaks
at the slightest
scent of seed
At the edge
of the yard
a deer sniffs
the soap hanging
to deter it
from the manicured
ravaged by inept hands
—inept hands with sheers—
even the bees