BY CHRISTIAN ANTON GERARD
after Yehuda Amichai
Sometimes there’s no room for the third person.
Sometimes I think of artifice as if
my hummingbird heart can’t hum or slow,
so I set down my thoughts on a twig
and say “I am not I” over and over
until I’m more comfortable with not being I
so I can hide something in the third person.
I sat in the stacks imagining every voice in every book
on every shelf saying themselves out loud at the same time.
That’s how I imagine infinity and loneliness.
New York City at rush hour, Paris or Berlin.
I want so badly to separate them all out
and listen perfectly so I don’t have to be
a voice a part of anything, so rather than the third person
there will be only a guitar’s sound in the night,
not strumming, but picking out each note
in Moonlight Sonata, like a single leaf off
the willow I used to climb, responding to a single wisp
of night. Behind all this some great happiness is
hiding. And still, most nights, I sit in the dark,
knees drawn to my chest and all the words I know
dangle like ghosts I can’t grip, can’t stop gripping.
"Holdfast" is the title poem from Christian Anton Gerard’s forthcoming book due out in September 2017 from C&R Press (and is available now for preorder). Gerard's first book is Wilmot Here, Collect for Stella (WordTech, CW Books Imprint, 2014). He’s received Pushcart Prize nominations, scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. Some of his recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Post Road, Diode, Orion, Smartish Pace, Thrush, Epiphany, the Rumpus, and the Journal. Gerard is an Assistant Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Writing at the University of Arkansas–Fort Smith. Find him on the web at www.christianantongerard.com.
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