Online Exclusive

Two Poems
I Am Who Sent Me

To have died in youth and remain.
To be good with that.

To forget now who was speaking.
Someone was always speaking.

To be in the yesterday of today,
lost in the morning’s psychotropic green.

But the verb is to be, to be vigilant
and hungry across time

along with the words “I love”
blinking in the face of it.

Look for faces and you find
them everywhere.

That leafy Elm becoming a mouth.
Overhead, voices angular and taut

rebound in space
with an antique question.

Where are you now?
Now only words for lost things.

Language marching into empire,
starving the words.

Light throwing rhythmic shadows,
doppler and strange. Where are you?

Things for last things.
Still, at this almost moment                                                       

a voice to come as sunrise
and remember the mother.

And the father everywhere
inside migrating birds.

So brief, so gone.
This was the legacy of dew:

to learn these origins
as the origin of water.

Unguarded, you wake
and open into your face.

Freestyle. Fathomless.
To see that far into oneself

with only a tear for a mirror.
The shape of it.

I keep it close
as a shield against time.


Notes on Sound
and Vision

The consequence
of flesh also
comes into the painting.
The attitude of landscape
escapes into a body
thinking of the body.
The dark octave unsettled.
How far can vision
take one, how far
do we see
into the painting
thinking of painting,
thinking of canvas,
or the hand
that shaped the arc
loving distance?
Or the shape of
the human, and the shape
of sleep and its dim shore,
its shadow sand,
marshland, and a road.
Sometimes it’s hard
to know the outline
of a body, there’s
so many people inside.
So much room
for love and mayhem.
For now, come close,
come closer, come
into the reeds.
Come into
the intimate distance
of the picture field.
So much room
for death and song.
Come into the room
where the viewer
is the viewed.
When the thing itself
becomes the thing itself.
There are so
many people here.

Peter Gizzi’s recent books include Sky Burial: New and Selected Poems (Carcanet), Now It’s Dark, and Archeophonics (both Wesleyan), which was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. These poems are from his new book, Fierce Elegy, forthcoming in fall of 2023 from Wesleyan.