Poetry | September 01, 2009
Poetry Feature: Brian Swann
Featuring the poems:
- Field of Flowers
- The Procession (featured as Poem of the Week, Nov. 3, 2009)
- The Gods
- The Galleon
Last night, in the smoke, the moon had a seizure,
wobbling so you couldn’t understand it. Flowers
on the hillsides are still confused, flying off
in the remaining wind. Peasants are following
a funeral procession, heading for the horizon
lost in blue lightning. The dead man’s feet
point backward to the maize fields where he was born.
Ignazio whispers, “He said ‘Don’t leave me to die
on the side of the road. Don’t leave me at night with
my eyes covered between two policemen. Take me home.'”
A dog gnaws a bone in the dirt. No sign of policía.
Later, in the café he tells me he.d once read in an old book
about a fountain in the rocks where the water pours out
and becomes green, and about a turquoise spring
that sings between pebbles and the bell-bird responds.
The song of the water, he said, sounds like tambourines.
“Where is this place?” “It’s called Tonacatlalpan.
Only for princes, owners of the world, a world only
for princes, nothing for the vassals, the common folk,
those who grieve, those who suffer torment and misfortune
on earth.” The procession passes, and the air is suddenly
clear as glass. Moctezuma, I’ve heard, had many mirrors
in his palaces, so he was everywhere and nowhere,
exaggerated, diminished, getting lost in them,
in himself, and the mirrors broke.
If you are a student, faculty member, or staff member at an institution whose library subscribes to Project Muse, you can read this piece and the full archives of the Missouri Review for free. Check this list to see if your library is a Project Muse subscriber.
Want to read more?Subscribe Today
SEE THE ISSUE
Editor's Prize Winner
Jun 02 2021
Poems: Chelsea B. DesAutels
Maybe You Need to Write a Poem About Mercy after Robert Hass Start this one with the woman standing at the edge of the woods. Or the desert, it
Jun 02 2021
Poems: Brandi Nicole Martin
No Market for Unfixable Suffering So I watercolor my skin graft and thereby beautify its hue, reframe so I was never “crushed under” or “burned by car muffler” but
Jun 02 2021
Poems: Jane Satterfield
Costumery: Cento with Lines from Early Reviews of Wuthering Heights Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë posed as Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell to publish their work and be taken seriously