"Iowa"

"Iowa"

"Iowa"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Dec. 2 2003 11:54 AM

Iowa

Listen to Rick Barot reading this poem. It is something to be thus saved,        a point on which landscape comes to deepest rest.

The ore of a death held
         frozen, there in the gull so far
inland, embedded in the ice

at the river's edge. Its bulk
         in the thick gloss is darker
than the ice, shoe-shaped,

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only the spoon-curved head
         telling you what it is, one eye
open though no longer sustaining.

The feet are ribbed, like sails
         tight on a mast. And a thing,
you remember, obliges by lying

down, its back to sky. How long
         it has been like this, this little
of a question to the world.

How small of a happening, though
         it happened because
there is witness of it. The width

Of water utterly silent,
         the distance a pencil-smudge
of Chinese hills. First its fall,

then immersion, every air discovered
         out of each quill,
its feathers matted with grit.

The day is a white octave, breathing
         its snow, and the bird
delicate, like a bone inside the ear.