Mark Irwin

Bright in June Sun
January 22, 2020 Irwin Mark

Bright in June Sun


The young man, kneeling at his mother’s tomb, lays red tulips there,
the young man wearing a too-big white shirt, a bit out of date, like those
on any thrift store rack, the shirt bright in June sun, so that from
a distance you see that shirt, its cumulous cloud above the granite
slab’s floating glare that could be a lake, where the boy, on a raft,
looks at a house boat on fire, or that boy could be an astronaut
in his space suit adrift, still circling the ship, or look—he’s a gull
pecking red flesh, or a polar bear, alone on an ice flow, but really
it’s just a boy below that summer cloud where a toy jet ferries people away,
a boy bending above his mother’s tomb, and it appears that space
is kneeling over time, but only because the latter has stopped.

Mark Irwin’s ten collections of poetry include the recently published Shimmer (2020), winner of the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, A Passion According to Green (2017), American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987- 2014), Tall If (2009), and Bright Hunger (2004). He recently completed a long translation project entitled Zanzibar: Selected Poems & Letters of Arthur Rimbaud, with an afterword by Alain Borer.