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Poem of the Day--Robert Wrigley

By John Published: April 8, 2011

Robert Wrigley was one of my teachers at the University of Oregon.  I've never known someone more in love with the sound of words. When I read the word "peduncular"  in this poem,  I see him smiling.

The Afterlife


 Spring, and the first full crop of dandelions gone
to smoke, the lawn lumpish with goldfinches,
hunched in their fluffs, fattened by seed,
alight in the wind-bared peduncular forest.
Little bells, they loop and dive, bend
the delicate birch branches down.
I would enter the sky through the soil
myself, sing up the snail bowers
and go on the lam with the roots.
Licked by filaments, I would lie,
a billion love-mouths to suckle and feed.

Where the river will be next week,
a puddle two trout go savagely dying in.
Notice the bland, Darwinian sand: bone wrack
and tree skin, the ground down moon bowls
of mussels, viral stones dividing like mold.
At twelve, I buried the frog because it was dead
and dug it up because I'd been dreaming
a fish belly light, a lowly chirruped chorus
of amens. I thought my nights might smell of hell.
Bland, hum-drum, quotidian guilt
if I've killed one frog, I've killed two.
Saint Rot and the sacraments of maggots:
knowing is humus and sustenance is sex.
It accrues and accrues, it stews
tumorous with delight. Tomorrow's
a shovelful, the spit of the cosmos, one day
the baby's breath is no longer a rose.

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