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Surely as Birds Fly (2002) and Rational Numbers (2000) can be ordered from Truman State University Press.

,P. As Easy as Lying: Essays on Poetry, forthcoming in September 2002, can be ordered from www.etruscanpress.org

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For more Poetry

H.L. Hix


“From the Standpoint of a Stone”

(Robert Motherwell)

One thick branch blown down, yes, but a thousand blossoms
plucked one by one by the rain surround and cover it.
A thousand droplets from the humid, breath-warm room,
ideas condense on windows, filtering light,
not curving, the sharp shadows from a window frame,
following folds across curtains but opposite
the weave. Worlds said as sentences, worlds said as names.
A low ridge of rocks combs the shallow river white.

God: nothing: brightness left out when we name the sky's hue.
Under composting cannas a nest of rabbits.
Beauty can hide, beauty can show itself to view,
beauty can be asserted. Geese shimmying breast-
first onto shore. Two men in a field, wearing blue,
facing the same direction, standing hands on hips.


“Inwardly I Am an Erotic Sadness”

(Lucas Samaras)

First drops visible only as movement of leaves,
struck piano keys. Nothing terrifies more than
the long, layered responsibilities of love.
One wind shift, and light gray fence rails darken with rain
that burdens the butterfly bush, bends it over
until it smothers coreopsis and lupine.
A motorboat's wake from 10,000 feet above:
thin white wings, bird on a blue flag, stylized airplane.

Things the understanding must forfeit to the body:
the lush last logic before sleep, the eyes' bee-dance,
a tin roof at twilight the color of the sky,
a deer in a clearing lifting her head from the grass,
honeysuckle's scent, a still heron, a wary
rabbit that watches you but will not meet your eyes.


“I Believe in the Recurrence”

(Agnes Martin)

Suspended by a strand of spiderweb, seedburst
still flies, but in place now. So many tragedies
without recognition scenes. Folded in like bats,
dried leaves hang in clusters. On black butterfly wings,
the yellow meanders look like ekg charts.
Hay bales like barrels thrown from a wrecked train. Gold leaves'
rocking fall, cicadas' circular sound, in contrast
to the sun's straight descent. Dried blooms in the cannas.

Two women, taking their time, walking stride for stride,
even turning their heads together, see the city.
First a boy's arm through the fence to his shoulder, stretched
toward a dog, then the same dog, no longer shy,
her head through to her collar on the other side.
Sons follow their fathers, swinging their arms the same way.


“To Place Yourself Outside Your Experience”

(Mark Rothko)

The hosta leaves dried to yellow-brown all lie down
in a single direction. What can be preserved
has been. A mop bleached white set to dry in the sun.
Through the fence and even the thin cedar, a road
turned chickadee gray. What else? Anything that can
be lost is luxury, and what does that exclude?
Not the clouds that look today like corrugation.
Not the L gouged in a dry lake being strip-mined.

Tiny sparks flash from the pickup's studded snow tires
on the highway at night. In a curtained window
a silhouette moves past a light. A day changes
its name, a life its purpose, a death its tableau.
God: nothing: a faucet dripping in a still house.
Tree on a hillside, fruit lined at the fence below.