Audio: Read by the author.
There was nothing on the fringe of
Tulsa, Oklahoma. Egg and lace
when you forget it’s frying. Palm Sunday
we marched, the pious and conscripted.
Nothing was changing, the very nothing
pea green air between boxcars,
glint which could be an airplane, blue-eyed
ignorance watching its feet. How far?
There are so many ways to fly and walk
in place I never move. I eat garlic and grits
and nod until my neck snaps.
I find my mouth wide open.
Step on branches. On a donkey. Knocked in the head.
By a branch. The last of the snows. Dirty
mountains in a parking lot. The arrival of something
so tender we look away and laugh.
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.