Saturday Dec 02

HenryBrian Brian Henry is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently Doppelgänger (Talisman House). His translation of Aleš Šteger’s The Book of Things appeared from BOA Editions in 2010 and won the 2011 Best Translated Book Award for Poetry. He has received numerous awards for his work, including fellowships from the NEA, the Howard Foundation, and the Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Above the wind
there’s nothing
but wind—
a shred
not meant
to be shared
What was inside
now spans.
Wind allows
no opposite
or obverse.
just wind.
A watery horizon
between you.
There is
no distance
to discuss.
No sand
to sift.
Only stone.
You’re far
into the fog.
It lines
every side
of you.
Your skin
thick with it.
Sudden sun.

October in February

Distrust what the eyes bring,
nothing that soft can stand
up to the sight of what ends
only to begin again.
Tiepolo knew the difference
between sky and sky. (Broken
sight). Schuyler, too. The garden’s
sharpest scholar. Here, even
the shadows are tarnished.
Sad gray rows that seem to know
they serve no purpose.
They have no smell, make
no sound, feel like nothing
but what they’re cast upon,
taste like nothing but what
they’re cast upon. So much weaker
than wind, snow, glare
on the snow, they live
on borrowed surfaces.
There’s no bottom to them
when sky and ground
share the same hue.
Winter Thaw

No need for the usual
congeries of reasons
not to leave the house
(rain, chill, gray;
squirrel, grackle, sky)
if one wishes to remain
Inside, of course,
is where the action is.
Outside, nothing but mud
and fellows staring out
windows, wondering how
privacy fences have kept them
from cudgeling each other
with whatever garden tools
are handy, left outside to rust,
no, out of carelessness
of mind and eye.
Then the sky gets wiped
and we wake to sun, mud, decay,
the ice in the culvert bound
to leave today, for sure,
and slip in sheets along the concrete
to the creek, conduit to a pond
half a mile away,
one grave to another.