Two Poems

Dan Beachy-Quick


We guess at laws; we hold a rock.
     Drop a rock in water and a crown
Leaps up, each jewel inverts in arc
A world in replica drowns
     When the crown into its own substance
Sinks down, refusal to be known
Of anything not ourselves. Glance
     Inward. The royal “we” mourns
When the pronoun breaks its romance
With the plural. The mirror is torn.
     I am one who speaks with a rock
In his mouth. A law forms
This surface a word’s weight breaks,
     A law draws a line in the sky
No eyes see the red-tailed hawk
Cross as she hunts, no eye
     Sees her feathers become gold,
Her dark eye too richly
Jeweled to see, in sky’s cold
     Vault a cymbal ringing
With wing’s every beat, the old
Rhythm calling us who listen
     To war or tears. The king—
He sat down on the mountain.
The subjects in his head wouldn’t sing.
     A father carried his son and wept.
A son dragged his father, crying
I killed him before his face leapt
     Into my eye, before I could see
His face, my father’s face, kept
Opening his eyes in me
     To forgive me. A hawk
Jangles in the sky relentlessly,
Dives down into the rock’s
     Shadow where the sparrows
Watch ants in battle knock
Grain of dirt from hated jaws
     And triumph. Here are none—
No heroes, only stones obeying laws.
What falls must fall. Mouth from stone.
     Air from bird. King from crown.
Arms from arm. Earth from home.







The moon heaves the morning
     into the trees “in
whose sunset suns still rise”—

my shadow leans before me
     when it leans behind—
the accident of leaving coincides

with the accident of return.
     Why harm it?—
The day by telling its story?—

Song creates distance within
some voice sings across this

distance song creates. “The
     mouth holds the shape
of the last word spoken.” 

Every mouth but the sun’s
     holds the shade
of the last world spoken—

But whose mouth is that?—
     saying O to open
eyes—eyes that see and so

they say, or one says, or me,
     “As I see, so
I say.” Whose mouth is that?—

The sun’s? “The night sheen
     takes over,” it does
not deny the day; it proves (in

some awful, un-nameable way) it—
     stars litter
sunset, stars caught in the lattice-

work of darkening trees, no
     O of lament or O
of praise, mouth closed, closed

eyes, these marks that punctuate
     the reddening sky,
prelude to the night’s text,

where the reading-light moon
     fails in pulling
from ink’s measureless scrawl one

word to read. Instead, we see stars—
     billions. Each shows us
a sentence that when it ends, ends.






Dan Beachy-Quick is the author, most recently, of Circle’s Apprentice and Wonderful Investigations: Essays, Meditations, Tales. He teaches in the MFA Program at Colorado State University.