I’m reading Paul Zweig. This is the eighth poem in the second section of his Selected and Last Poems, followed by my response. See here for details.
The Black Stone
by Paul Zweig
Death was my first appetite,
I’ve had others since.
Black stone I swallowed on the day I was born,
You are the loneliness fattening in my breath…
[Remainder of poem removed 9-31-05]
* * * *
The Yellow Field
Somewhere in that critical hour before supper
I lost my appetite, all of it,
just as my strict Nanna used to warn against
when she set out the sweets.
My other grandma would light a cigarette
& gently shoo us out of the house
so she & grandpa could enjoy their cocktail hour – ah! – alone.
Peace without children, yellow field
where I dissolve, finally, into a murmur of bees.
Given a field of yellow, the weather doesn’t matter.
Given water from the ground or the sky
& my own, too-corrosive minerals, given
a season of ice, fissures growing
wherever the rhizomes can get their fingers in past the knuckle,
prizing the dead stone open along its seam
of gleaming yellow: a field spreads
wherever I used to feel hunger.
I stand in the middle of it at sundown, still as a tall stump
that doesn’t belong,
watching for the brilliant wings of monarch butterflies
beating, gliding, searching for a one-night hat stand.
I could be the spot marked Mexico on a yellow map.
My shadow stretches into the distant woods.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- Them bones
- The pure distance
- Becoming grass
- The fears and pleasures
- Written by the vanquished
- Waiting for the detonation
- Green plague
- That great invention
- To greet the quietness
- Advancing into sleepless woods
- How else?
- What remains
- My life as a landlubber
- Perfect night
- Above the ears, below the waist
- In lieu of listening
- Black stone, yellow field
- City of changes
- The fresh chance
- Too much
- A beach in hell
- When it breaks
- The burden of becoming human
- In slough time
- Restoring the words
- String theories
- Parcels of pure voice
- An undulant map
- Stone-blue winter
- Foreign matter
- Always present
- A sown darkness
- Woods and water
- Fish tales