Saturday, March 27, 2010

Three Poems by Sam Reed

Cave Stream

What you see isn’t there,
If the crimson, ever-bruising
Effervescent light-starved
Musings of the eye teem
Fathoms deep in what
Only its touch can tell you,
Palm equally outstretched
To find and fend it, is
Clearest rock. Climbing you
In the chill, very rush
Chiseling this density
Grit by unthinkable
Less-than-grit open to
Unseal what heart nor brain
Have right to beat in
Is only water. Like you
It must keep moving, but not
With you, crowd panicking
The other way. How long
Since you were anything,
Threshold to seeming depth-
Lessness once waded, but
Engulfed? Can time, great reacher,
Ocean-shadower, pass
Through crevices so tight
A single human such-
As-it-is knowingspan’s
Straitjacketed, cinched
Both fore- and hindsight in this
Impenetrable instant’s
Night-knot? Deeper, and dis-
Belief be your guide, rose
Impervious in the vise,
Your daredevil angel (turn back
If you know how) beckoning
To the last, hand, heart as eyes
Straining for some trace of
That fool’s phosphorescence
Not wholly dissolved in a
Blink, but to be left grappling
With that impossibility:
Grasses, a tree, the sky.

              South Island, NZ

Field Guide Marginalia


Snow-tracked it to
the creek and that
was that


Each cool scale
as it slides
over me


in sand, but
in wind

Solstice, South of Tucson

You’d call this humid, if they made
Humidity out of fire, not water.
If fire could hide in air, like kerosene
Lit and covered up with sand,
You’d call this air.

I was just trying to breathe
When you looked at me like
You were covered in kerosene.

Whatever has a shadow
Won’t for long. A little overhead, the saguaro
Fruit is splitting, showing
Its red of crushed strawberries,
Its lushness.

You looked at me that way
One time before, only that time
As if I was pouring it.

Sweat leaks down my neck.
The shadows shorten in.

Don’t stop.
You’re scaring me.

Sam Reed graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Orion, Thermos, and other journals. He currently lives in Seattle.