Audio: Read by the author.
Bible open. On her lap. Same page for years.
Her white hair. Spooky red ink. Deuteronomy.
Falling through Numbers. The grasshopper drags his legs.
The almond tree blossoms. The woman at the well,
face in a drinking cup, zinc on the edges.
Eat over thin pages. Crumbs fall down to the streets.
Rise up at the sound of birds. Who takes bread.
Hurry down. Wipe away the wine. Everything’s
nothing is something. We never have enough.
It was here already like a mushroom. All goes
down to the water. Tremble, it sees you.
Sometimes her mouth moving, words
her own since childhood, better words,
less red. Gaps in letters, between columns.
Ralph Burns has published seven books, most recently But Not Yet (Lynx House). He has recent poems in Field and the Georgia Review. He lives in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.