Our poetry editor, Joe Pan, has selected two poems by Jorge Sánchez for his series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

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“Birds and Flowers of the Four Seasons” (second half of the 16th century), one of a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper, image: 63 1/4 x 142 in. (purchase, Mrs. Jackson Burke and Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Gifts, 1987, image courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art). The panel is currently on view in ‘Celebrating the Arts of Japan‘ at the Metropolitan Museum. (click to enlarge)

Recollections of the Stork

Perhaps the daffy, gawkiness of him
is the engine that whirrs and allows flight?
His song a hyoshigi, den­-den daiko,
kokiriko call. His house mikoshi
borne aloft. And atop that house, a phoenix.

The sun’s motion across the sky affects nothing,
the stork’s flight of constant length, the shadow
it casts on canoes, the time a father lives
or how long the water seems glassy,
stork legs in deep water, ahead of the boat.

In Western Michigan

Why call a river Grand when it is so
cold, skin roiling like a geyser, the birds
speaking a kind of French only Germans
understand? The drift is something like
a kingdom floating on the foam of day,
the hand of a friend seen so far ahead
in time as to be time gone, time before.

Here I might sit for all of time, the days
become hours, minutes becoming seconds,
a backyard or a bar you could never stand,
better than an enormous green sward
with a single space to make it important
(to me, at least) and a place that might hold
the light of some ceaseless sun, forever.

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Cuban-American fiction writer, teacher, essayist, and poet Jorge Sánchez was born in Hialeah, Florida, and raised in Miami. He earned a BA from Loyola University, an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, and an MA from the University of Chicago Divinity School. Sánchez teaches at Elgin Academy in Elgin, Illinois, and lives in Chicago with his wife and son.

Joe Pan grew up along the Space Coast of Florida and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His debut poetry book, Autobiomythography & Gallery, was named “Best First Book of the Year” by Coldfront...

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