Ray Gonzalez

What a Man Wants is the Power to Name the Terms of His Rescue
November 22, 2021 Gonzalez Ray

 Stephen Dunn


If I had that power,
I would have rescued
myself long ago and
my private landscape would
remain mountain and sky.
These are terms I can accept,
not tell anyone I am growing
stronger each day, the dirt trail
never leading where it should,
people vanishing from our lives
so we can steal their power.


If I had that power,
I would measure how
much strength I stole from
my father who just died
without saying a word to me.
He was learning to rescue himself
because the most beautiful thing
I can recall are my working father’s
worn shoes at the foot of his bed.
That beauty reflects in the sentence
I wrote with my Parkinsons hand,
not on the page, but in punishment—
a sentence for the power of rescue,
a silent manner of living without shame.

Ray Gonzalez is the author of fourteen books of poetry, including six from BOA Editions–The Heat of Arrivals (1997 PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award), Cabato Sentora, The Hawk Temple at Tierra Grande (2003 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry), Consideration of the Guitar: New and Selected Poems (2005), Cool Auditor: Prose Poems (2009) and Beautiful Wall, (2015).  The University of Arizona Press has published eight books, including Soul Over Lightning (2014) and Turtle Pictures (2001 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry).  His poetry has appeared in the 1999, 2000, 2003, and 2014 editions of The Best American Poetry (Scribners).  He is Full Professor in the MFA Creative Writing Program at The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.