Literature 7-17-2006

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Alyson Sinclair

This begins a new series of What Light: This Week's Poem, sponsored by Magers and Quinn Booksellers and coordinated by Lightsey Darst. Look for profiles of this series' judges soon. A call for poems is upcoming; look for it next month.

Alyson Sinclair

To Dr. Williams in Heaven
for William Carlos Williams

You must be miserable,
all your ideas gone with the house, no letters,
not even your eyeglasses. I wonder if you’ve got
a new definition of what is and is not a “thing.”
I imagine that you will have to swim without water
unless water is in fact unworldly.

People say, or one person has said,
by the time we understand the philosopher
we will be too old to be virtuous.

Where is the eventual ground
I’ve heard you talk about?
I still want to press my mouth up against the world.
I set it there long before I understood what you were saying.

Not exactly the kiss of death, but it’s all I’ve got.

The reason the night is long is never simply
the stars or the rain, not even a bowl of plum pits.
But the broken water heater did have something
to do with all of this and so did being alone.

Alyson Sinclair grew up in Lancaster, South Carolina. She received her BA
from the College of Charleston where she worked as an editorial assistant
for the literary magazine Crazyhorse. She has also worked forThe Minus
Times, Conduit,
and Dislocate. Currently, she is an intern at Graywolf
Press and an MFA student in creative writing at the University of