~Jeffrey Harrison
I’m going to pretend I’m a painter and just
set up my easel here in the tall grass
by the river, with the bridge in the distance,
because the bridge needs to be in the picture
with its steel trusses and concrete pylons
streaked with rust, something to give structure,
something man-made, a work of art
or at least of engineering to connect
not only the two banks of the river but also
the earth to the sky, fastening them
together like a row of thick stitches.

If I were really a painter I wouldn’t have to
say all that but just paint the damn bridge,
free of the smeary imprecision and duplicity
of words, though I could still make the bridge
look like stitches by painting it black
against a sunset’s bloody wound—but that
would be its own kind of falsity, so maybe
it’s only an illusion that a different
medium would connect me more directly
to the world, and the wound may be
inside me anyway, and these the stitches.



Jeffrey Harrison is the author of four full-length books of poems– most recently Incomplete Knowledge (Four Way Books), which was runner-up for the Poets’ Prize in 2008 — as well as of The Names of Things (2006), a selected poems published by the Waywiser Press in the U.K. He is a recipient of Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships; his poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, The Yale Review, and American Poetry Review, and in anthologies such as Poets of the New Century and The Twentieth Century in Poetry (U.K., 2011). For more information, go to: http://home.comcast.net/~jeffrey.harrison/index.htm


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