Conjunctions:79 Onword

Three Unpublished Poems
Opposite the parking lot, 
demolition rubble, and beyond it the garden of a neglected estate. The relict lay reading.

The great nothing was there. Always. 
Listen, Trespasser. 

A bird half-convinces her she is hearing more than one line at once. Smell of dog, no, drunkard’s urine on the wrought iron. A button and a condom on the walk. 
The relict lay reading in the yarrow, the red clover, the spent lilies. The blue spruce 
toppling itself; one of the oaks dispersed in chunks. Rivulets threading her personal hill

where the relict lay reading in the spent lilies of the valley and 
the tall candles of mullein that took over once the keepers were let go. 
A pergola struggling to support its vine. All but aloud it struggles. The blue 
spruce leaning; loyal oak in chunks. A trench 
part-dug to re-route the run-off. 

Rock at every strike 
of the pick. 

The relict cursing the contractor’s bad fill. Cursing the contractor’s grass. 
Her smoke bush cleared the winter, and the spring, but Robert didn’t. 

The relict lay reading in the contractor’s bad grass. I used to breathe sleep eat poetry. 
Until could not see to read except the large-print books, mysteries, tell-alls, and 
how to build waterfalls, but could see the hollows in the small of his buttocks, the fair hair feathering into his pitchy seam.

I could see rings of brilliance 
beyond any visible human means. 

The relict lay reading below a house so large it could rain in front with no cloud in sight around back. Unseasonable sadness of unseen sprinklers. Reverberation of non-stop traffic 
on Reading Road.

It doesn’t look a bit peaceful 
out there. Pointing past the trespasser. 

Standing on her personal hill. Her dress fluttering in the absence of the weakest wind. Exposing the loose flesh below the arm commonly called batwings. 

Just. Could
tell me. 
What did it mean 
that I was a girl.


This poem is excerpted from “Three Unpublished Poems,” which appears in full in our spring 2022 issue, Conjunctions:79, Onword.

We are grateful to Forrest Gander for selecting C. D. Wright’s previously unpublished poems in this issue.

A longtime friend of and contributor to Conjunctions, C. D. Wright was one of her generation’s most iconic and influential poets. Her many books won her a host of major awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Griffin Prize, and a 2004 MacArthur Fellowship. Her collections One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana (Twin Palms Pub), with photographs by Deborah Luster, and One with Others (Copper Canyon) are passionate and ethical classics of documentary poetics.