Sunday Poem


Her cart like a dugout canoe.

Had been an oak trunk.

Cut young. Fire-scoured.

What was bark what was heartwood : P u r e C h a r – H o l e

Adze-hacked and gouged.

Ever after (never not) wheeling hollow there behind her.

Up the hill toward Bennett Yard; down through Eight-Mile, the Narrows.

C o m e s C l a r y b y h e r e n o w

Body bent past bent. Intent upon horizon and carry.

Her null eye long since gone isinglassy, opal.

—The potent (brimming, fluent) one looks brown.

Co u r s e s C l a r y s u r e a s b a y o u t h r o u g h h e r e n o w

Bearing (and borne ahead by) hull and hold behind her.

Plies the dark.

Whole nights most nights along the overpass over Accabee.

Cr o s s e s C l a r y b l e s s h e r b a r r o w u p t h e r e n o w

Pausing and voweling there— the place where the girl fell.

( )

Afterwhile passing.

Comes her cart like a whole-note held.

by Atsuro Riley
from Poetry, Vol. 192, No. 5
publisher: Poetry, Chicago, 2008