Arthur Sze

Doppler Effect
June 12, 2014 Sze Arthur

Doppler Effect


Stopped in cars, we are waiting to accelerate

along different trajectories. I catch the rising


pitch of a train—today one hundred nine people

died in a stampede converging at a bridge;


radioactive water trickles underground

toward the Pacific Ocean; nickel and copper


particulates contaminate the Brocade River.

Will this planet sustain ten billion people?


Ah, switch it: a spider plant leans toward

a glass door, and six offshoots dangle from it;


the more I fingered the clay slab into a bowl,

the more misshapen it became; though I have


botched this, bungled that, the errancies

reveal it would not be better if things happened


just as I wished; a puffer fish inflates on deck;

a burst of burnt rubber rises from pavement.

Arthur Sze’s eleventh book of poetry, The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems (Copper Canyon, 2021)
received a 2024 National Book Foundation Science + Literature Award. His new book, The Silk Dragon II: Translations
of Chinese Poetry
, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon in April.