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 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.