Alberto Rios

May 8, 2015 Rios Alberto

Words in the Woods


All the words that have been spoken here
Over time, over centuries: they stay.

We hear occasional echoes, think
A bird has chirped or a cricket,

But it was a moment of laughter
Happy enough to be here still

Even as the years themselves are gone.
A glint in someone’s eye, a quality of light—

Something, something made one say words
To another, and they laughed.

Words spoken have some slight weight:
As they go forward from the mouth, they fall

In a slow arc over time. But they do not go—
In falling they are in the humus that feeds the trees,

And in their time they enter the trees
And are the trees, so that the limbs

And the leaves of these trees, this shade
Is that conversation, so pleasant, so long ago.

Alberto Álvaro Ríos is the author of eleven books and chapbooks of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir.  His books of poems include, most recently, A Small Story About the Sky.  Ríos is the recipient of the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award, the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Walt Whitman Award, the Western States Book Award for Fiction, six Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and fiction, and inclusion in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, as well as over 250 other national and international literary anthologies.  His work is regularly taught and translated, and has been adapted to dance and both classical and popular music.