Sigman Byrd

The Beginner
April 8, 2014 Byrd Sigman

The Beginner


Doesn’t have a clue, sips whiskey in a train

station on the other side of thought, imagining


the space between the days, the votive cells

and atoms of each moment rising. Says yes


to everything that happens, fails egregiously

and says yes again. Believes in no birth, no death,


in the engine full of apples fermenting

among garlands of sunshine and farewell kisses,


believes the engine as greater vehicle of transcendence

has been corrupted. What is it? he asks.


But he forgets how answers are stitched together.

Feels the self-same swing of speech and silence


and fashions his own answer, the rookie inside

each of us, the newcomer squeezing a lemon wedge


into a glass of autumnal sighs. Regrets and

wrong turns, the body exposed to the golden wind.


How can this human life be anything other than

astonishing? The tick-tick-tick of pleasure’s ignition


quietly catching—after all these years, the one who

has just arrived knows exactly what to do.


Sigman Byrd is the author of two books of poetry, Under the Wanderer’s Star and Wake Up, Sleepwalker (forthcoming from Conundrum Press), and a chapbook, Who We Were (Finishing Line Press, 2010). His work can be found in American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, Crazyhorse, Georgia Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and Southwest Review. He teaches writing at the University of Colorado in Boulder.