Emergency

I want to tell you about this restraint.

You take your really good ones.
They never seem to know.

First you subtract all thoughts of ice.
Then you subtract mountains, insects, clouds.

A bit of rain only makes dust
more certain of its loss

because first there was the emptiness, then
a habitation placed around it,

like an emergency of leaves, scuttling
seasonally away from the tree.

Then you add more absence and its simple splendor.
Add the generosity of sorrow.

And then the inexplicable puzzle of becoming
entirely too happy with what you’ve accomplished,

It’s really nothing, but it’s urgent and
so inexplicably beautiful you want it to be over

because you cannot hold yourself back.

 

 

About the Author: Rich Ives lives on Camano Island in Puget Sound. He has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Dublin Quarterly, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, Fiction Daily and many more. He is a winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander and has been nominated twice for the Best of the Web, three times for Best of the Net and six times for The Pushcart Prize. He is the 2012 winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. Tunneling to the Moon, a book of days with a work for each day of the year, is available from Silenced Press, Sharpen, a fiction chapbook, is available form Newer York Press, and Light from a Small Brown Bird, a book of poems, is available from Bitter Oleander Press. He is also the winner of the What Books Press Fiction Competition, and his story collection, The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking, is now available.

The Small Birds of Early Morning

Needing only a shovelful of air to float on,
tunnels of light open daily with a flutter and a dash.

Little feathered flutes of dream buttered with song,
I bring you fresh lessons of foam from the rocks.

All the way to the end of my feathers I go.
There can be but one infinity, and it’s incomplete.

You might wish to swallow a river.
You might want to taste a stone.

There are mines inside, there are ancient caves,
as if you could have just a delicate slice of lightning.

Incongruous as a sunbathing polka dot cat,
I have forgiven myself for being too available.

I stand in this ocean walking on the bottom.
Your accomplice surrounds me and enters me.

Why so many of you, and so shy, as if I might
spill the patient seeds or eat up all the destinations?

I think I’ll go now, or I’ll go thinking unreasonably, with only
my beak and my new empty bones, lighter than thought,

having begun something illogical and right and needing
to search for the nest with my partially digested cricket thoughts.



 

About the Author: Rich Ives has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Dublin Quarterly, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, Fiction Daily and many more. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. In 2011 he received a nomination for The Best of the Web and two nominations for both the Pushcart Prize and The Best of the Net. He is the 2012 winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. His book of days, Tunneling to the Moon, is currently being serialized with a work per day appearing for all of 2013 at silencedpress.com.