A Fire Was In My Head


A Poem from California
17 April 2009, 1:58 pm
Filed under: New Poetry | Tags: , , , ,

The title of this poem does not refer in any way to the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, save that I read that book recently and found the phrase apt. I wrote it in direct sunlight on yellow paper, the sun being the measure of all things in California, the ultimate force of that place. Or, rather, the sun was part of the reason and the circumstances at the poem’s conception. The other part is the person about whom it is most nearly written–I will never claim not to distort partially even the purest feelings and qualities in the translation from life to verse, so no real people will ever appear in my poetry–and to whom I have dedicated it.

Remains of the Day

for Kristen

You freckle in the light
with the surface of all plain things.
The swimming pool shimmers.
I puzzle under an open sun,
comb the freckles,
big, brown thumbs, prickles
of sun come up
to the surface to shimmer,
breathe in the light.
I puzzle of a night: they remember,
breathing in the dark,
wordless as hums,
shineless, shuffling buckles.
You and I know what
sun did or did not.