2 March 2004 | Vol. 4, No. 1

Meditation for Everything We Have Loved

What do you love the most?

              Say the reddish work of death

as it strolls through the fields:

                            the peaks of the sky

between the reeds and the stream.

              All our memorable mistakes

easing into us as a bandaged ewe,

                            after giving birth, eases

the bloated body of her lamb

              into the marsh with her tongue-prints

on its face. Let it rest.

                            Let it become what it will.

Love leaves us dull with nothing else to say

              and whatever is the most will never be enough.

Say nothing. Nothing.

                            Keep saying it.

It is right there in front of you.

              It will sleep through the damp nights

and suckle its own tiny breast.

                            Say everything.

About the author:

Joshua Poteat's first manuscript Ornithologies won the 2004 Anhinga Poetry Prize (published in 2006) and his chapbook Meditations won the Poetry Society of America's 2004 National Chapbook Award. His second manuscript, Illustrating the Machine that Makes the World: From J.G. Heck's 1851 Pictorial Archive of Nature and Science, was accepted as a part of the newly revamped Contemporary Poets Series from the University of Georgia Press/Virginia Quarterly Review (publication date TBA). Poems from the second manuscript have won the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize from Hunger Mountain, and have been recently published in Virginia Quarterly Review, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, American Letters & Commentary, Quarterly West, Bat City Review, Typo, Copper Nickel, Backwards City Review, Handsome, and others.'; if (strpos($_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'],'galleys')) {?>

Author's note: "Appendix:             in           Snow" and "Appendix:           the           Blind (         Specimen    )" are appendices/erasures/ruins/white-outs/bones of my poems, "Meditations in Desert Snow" and "Meditations in the Garden of the Blind (with Whitman's Specimen Days)," previously published in 42opus. Some may call it editing, others just a gimmicky way to get two poems out of one. However, this method has been popular since the 1920s-era Surrealists, perhaps even earlier. For the most part, the goal of my project is to find the ghost underneath the ghost.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Joshua Poteat at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 4, No. 1, where "Meditation for Everything We Have Loved" ran on March 2, 2004. List other work with these same labels: poetry, editors' select.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

copyright © 2001-2011
XHTML // CSS // 508