[North Hill, Malvern]

G. C. Waldrep

one of many ledges      shadow-dispelling
& in that like a doorway lit
from either side
someone approaches
a few grains against their left hip
“someone” is always an edge, or a ledge
in this tapestry designed by Comper
is drawing a needle
with its thread                                    through—
& this is the question
whether stones lie
& if so,                 how we call them out for it
what the host
condigns to show us, whittled
from other ghosts
a thrumming, a thrumbling
upon the sharp edge of which I strode
without any usher       to tempt my silence
the pasture’s asceticism refusing
the strict frame
of color, rotary declension of the senses
all matter
judges other matter
which is in turn judged—                  (breath
is one form this takes, but not the only)
prepare a magnifying mechanism,
apply it
as one would a poultice, to a burn
we can see in the sky, vs things we can’t
breech of willow just beyond the burnish
of the walking poor
alone suggesting
they have left their books
of martyrs        open in some other room
strict regime                    where hunger sets
like a moon we put there
expecting confidently we would return
striations in the absolute                   gelded
the utter absence of neolithic evidence
at these locations
of gold thread, I stooped, I looked)
nor blame-struck chapelry
for the exchange of humours, pigments
nothing like that
you bring your geometry with you
like a light lunch, pierced transversely
& then the drop
(but—          holding itself
almost motionless against the gusts)
why not
turn the tired body
to more than calendar, less than plight—
G.C. WALDREP’s most recent books are feast gently (Tupelo, 2018), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the long poem Testament (BOA Editions, 2015). Newer work has appeared in APR, Poetry, Paris Review, New England Review, Yale Review, Iowa Review, Colorado Review, New American Writing, Conjunctions, etc. Waldrep lives in Lewisburg, Pa., where he teaches at Bucknell University and edits the journal West Branch.