G.C. Waldrep

Wordwell Triptych
February 19, 2020 Waldrep G.C.

(WORDWELL I)
 
chronic lapse
birdsong
 
& because
everything
does separate,
the grasses
 
(their mute
understudies)
 
chronic lapse
that touches
the soft break
 
three, four
 
three, four
 
beat
the pattern
the ripe air
 
scrollwork
to the eye’s
studded
tympanum
 
that breathes
 
welcome
 
oh, welcome
 
where
are you going
where
have you been
 
 
(WORDWELL II)
 
place your fingertip
into the shallow
depression, the drain
 
(I rise, I do this:  see)
 
make bread of me
the air pleads, kneading
its wide-open wound
 
(I rise, I
place my finger in it)
 
is your name
Light, then (says the air)
No, I reply (&
take my seat again)
 
is your name
Breath (closer.  I sign
my grief
into the Book of Griefs)
 
let’s wipe out
the birds
together, the air suggests
 
let’s place
our fingers into
the shallow depression
each bird’s body
makes
 
No, I tell the air
Wait here
 
—Yes, the air agrees
 
(I rise, I drink
the flags
to their bitter dregs)
 
 
(WORDWELL III)
 
I will wake some
blood
for you, the air
said (helpfully,
it seemed to think,
from its tone)
 
No thank you,
I responded
 
I have woken
enough blood
already, by myself
 
Then let me
put it to sleep,
the air offered,
I know
such fine lullabies
 
No, thank you
I said again,
testing
the iron hinges
 
(this was my
blood’s dream,
I woke
with my blood’s
dream in my
 
mouth, on all
my flushed faces)

G.C. Waldrep’s most recent books are a long poem, Testament (BOA Editions, 2015), and a chapbook, Susquehanna (Omnidawn, 2013).  With Joshua Corey he edited The Arcadia Project:  North American Postmodern Pastoral (Ahsahta, 2012).  His new collection, feast gently, is due out from Tupelo Press in 2018.  He lives in Lewisburg, Pa., where he teaches at Bucknell University, edits the journal West Branch, and serves as Editor-at-Large for The Kenyon Review.