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Category archive for: Richard Foerster

Stone

But for the thirteen letters

of his name and the chiseled

dates that a hyphen spans—

as if it were the only

vital bridge between

two chartless lands:

those vast oblivions

of before he was and after—

I might mistake this granite

for something winter heaved

carelessly into the thawed

New England light, a stepping-

stone in mud season, yet one

a farmer would nevertheless take

a shovel to, as would I

were it not so precisely set

flush with the green earth

and I could undo the mason’s marks.

from The Burning of TroyFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2006
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Smoke Tree

            Cotinus coggygria

I was hiking half a world from home

when I saw a smoke tree on the trail ahead

smolder into a lather of light, plush

as powder in the heat-choked air—

and clustered along spinules, thin

as capillaries, a tiny arson flared,

then rose into a stratosphere

where the ash of all I was and had

was rushing toward some distant ground

I’d planted once with such as this

in memory of someone dead, and from

that half a world away, a cloud returned

faltering with rain: I was no longer sad.

from The Burning of TroyFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2006
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Minotaur

A maze, into which

eyes, peering,

must adjust: a door

latched, and another,

then one left open for

the as-yet timid

to enter, dim-lit

as the dead, wandering,

girded in white chitons,

as much the uniform

here as silence:

the cul-de-sac

these men seek

for thundering hearts,

each trailing his thread

of yesterdays, to ravel

a way out into light,

to whatever he thought he was

before fingers began

to smell of semen and sweat,

before his throat swelled

in unenunciated prayer,

that gurgle of remembering before

the past snaps like string.

from The Burning of TroyFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2006
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

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