That I Saw the Light on Nonotuck Avenue
That every musical note is a flame, native in its own tongue.
That between bread and ash there is fire.
That the day swells and crests.
That I found myself born into it with sirens and trucks going by
out here in a poem.
That there are other things that go into poems like the pigeon,
cobalt, dirty windows, sun.
That I have seen skin in marble, eye in stone.
That the information I carry is mostly bacterial.
That I am a host.
That the ghost of the text is unknown.
That I live near an Air Force base and the sound in the sky is death.
That sound like old poetry can kill us.
That there are small things in the poem: paper clips, gauze, tater
tots, and knives.
That there can also be emptiness fanning out into breakfast rolls,
That I am hungry.
That I seek knowledge of the ancient sycamore that also lives in
the valley where I live.
That I call to it.
That there are airships overhead.
That I live alone in my head out here in a poem near a magical
That I saw the light on Nonotuck Avenue and heard the cry of a
dove recede into a rustle.
That its cry was quiet light falling into a coffin.
That it altered me.
That today the river is a camera obscura, bending trees.
That I sing this of metallic shimmer, sing the sky, the song, all of
it and wonder if I am dying would you come back for me?
* * *
Peter Gizzi is the author of seven collections of poetry, most recently, Archeophonics (finalist for the 2016 National Book Award), In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems 1987-2011, and Threshold Songs. Just out from The Brother in Elysium is a small book entitled, New Poems. For more info visit petergizzi.org.
Readers are encouraged to submit 3–5 poems as a PDF to Wendy Xu for consideration at [email protected]