Arthur Sze

May 25, 2017 Sze Arthur



Quetzal: you write
the word on a sheet of paper
then erase it;

each word, a talisman,
leaves a track: a magpie
struts across a portal

and vanishes from sight;
when you bite into sea urchin,
ocean currents burst

in your mouth; and when
you turn, gaze at the white shutters
to the house,

up the canyon, a rainbow
arcs into clouds;
expectancies, fears, yearnings—

hardly bits of colored glass
revolving in a kaleidoscope:
mist rising from a hot spring

along a river; suddenly
you are walking toward Trinity Site
looking for glass

and counting minutes
of exposure under the sun;
suddenly small things ignite.

Arthur Sze’s tenth book of poetry, Sight Lines (Copper Canyon, 2019), won the 2019 National Book Award in Poetry. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.