the purity of rain clouds with the purity of a greengrocer in an ankle-length apron, or one purity with another-- a Tibetan's gold-capped eye tooth answered once & for all by a floor-show breakfast, a plateful of double-sauced eggs, a brioche-- as the fury of our collective amnesia could be answered by a compassion for Catholic guilt, a Catholic of the innocent schoolgirl sort the cliche of a beautiful Italian on a moto might be paired with a sweetheart deal, the sort of deal brokered in a sauna. In the Age of the Absolute Cell, to answer the variability of our genes with the wingspan of an Adirondack summer, to match the purity of beehives with the purity of houseboats and the onset of cancer with an over-fished sea; to reply to a movie in a darkened living room (our breathing in time with a determined actor), to answer an afternoon of forgivable horoscopes of the civic morning's haunted prince, to answer his assassination, to answer the crunch time of tearoom waiters of the chanting of stoic pilgrims or all of the above with an hour of dancing (because some blues singers should play opera houses, no?)-- nonetheless, I'm not sure if anyone alive could identify a purity talented-enough to answer this black rock-- in the middle of the coffee shop, this aunt speaking to a miserable teenage girl, leaning in to tell her, "Well, I hope your therapy isn't going to dredge up a lot of awful things from childhood, no one should have to go over that stuff in their mind." It's unworthy of an answer. A signal fire is worth it, a toothache in your heel is, & the trustiness of a sleeping servant; nonetheless, this black rock will not be answered.
DAVID RIVARD is the author of four books, the most recent of which is Sugartown (Graywolf, 2006). In 2006, he was awarded the O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize by the Folger Shakespeare Library, for his teaching as well as his writing. He is on the faculty of the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire.
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|Title Annotation:||fourteen poems: A Special APR Supplement|
|Publication:||The American Poetry Review|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2008|
|Previous Article:||Wandering Oxygen.|