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
May 17 2022
You Will Be Ready / Total Hysterectomy There will be days in this medical experience when you feel like you’re the only citizen of Pluto, landed right in the
May 16 2022
Tree of Life Translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry I was born in a field of grain and snapped my fingers. White chalk crossed the green blackboard. Dew
May 16 2022
Counterweight In the fall, the garden folds in on itself—grand stalk of kale on the ground like a wilted chandelier, still green tomatoes that missed their chance at red