Poems by Karl Kirchwey
Words crushed on the palate end in silence
every time, not in the palaver of song.
You cannot fill your basket with what is merely visible,
grapeshot of onyx, gleaming confected dark,
for here neglect has grown complex and fertile,
in this tangled fane, this daggered understory,
and to pluck the sinister fruit, you must angle in
on a reach with your left arm, neither too shallow
not too steep, one from which you can recover,
then bear down gently until you feel the parting
of flesh from hollow stem in a place you cannot see.
Your own reflex will always guide you wrong,
your whole hand driven backward onto the thorn,
returned to sunlight with a wounding cursive,
your blood mingling with the pulp of the drupe.
Read what is written there. Discovering
there are seeds between your teeth, speak that language.
From: THE HAPPINESS OF THIS WORLD (G.P. Putman’s Sons, 2007)