He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Field of Light and Shadow (Knopf, 2010); Black Lab (2006); At the White Window (2000); Night Thoughts and Henry Vaughan (1994), which won the Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry; The Planet on the Desk: Selected and New Poems 1960-1990 (1991); Foraging (1986); Earthshine (1988); The Names of a Hare in English (1979); Work Lights: Thirty-Two Prose Poems (1977); and Boxcars (1972).
Broth throbs on the stove. I journey into a turnip, but the
saffron-threads, forlorn, summon me back. Dicing the cake,
icing the carrot, while mites converse in the oatmeal. Singing
with Tristan, humming with Brahms, as tomatoes collapse in
their sauce. We hold these truths to be significant—that shrimp
goes well with garlic, that bread is a Promised Land, that
onions hymn in the nose ...
Ghosts gather. Some wear aprons. They want to recall the taste
of wine with well-sauced pasta, to savor brown sugar dissolved in
espresso, lemon squeezed over smoked salmon. The tongue has
a mind of its own. The chilis are biding their time. Wolves
would come down from the mountains just for a pear and a
nugget of goat cheese. Please saunter up to mis counter and
sample a ladle of beans, a morsel of duck, a slice of porcini, as
the golden drizzle of sunlight dances outside on the grill.
And which is the poem, please? The butter, the knife that slides
right through it? Bread rises, lamb braises. Fruit ripens steadfast
in a handsome old bowl. I lick my lips. Oh tingling shadows!
Such luck, to be alive!
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