13.4 (Summer 2009)   The 2River View AuthorsPoemsPDFMake a bookArchives2River

Jaime Brunton


One's whole life can be taken up in this way—
a near constant state of longing,

or of disappointment, which we called the same.
And so we left them sitting there, under oak trees,

left them sitting with their want, they who went on
about verbena bushes and falling leaves

so that bushes and leaves were never important,
or indeed never were. This great fascination with things,

this dizzying elevation of stuff to extensions
of our overstrained voices — such were our sweet miseries —

who would long for that precious stupidity,
whose insides now turn aquiver to see it,

mute and inscrutable as a cow, in the faces of the young?
But this, too, was a surprise, wasn't it, how the mind settles

only as water settles — on its surface — and how even now,
hearing this, there is a real body of water we have in mind?


There was nowhere we did not exist.
There was a river whose fish no longer matter

mattered only a few times in the past.
There was and is the moon over various dark locations

some of which we never knew. There were
and are long slow sounds about the moon

and those do not matter
except in as far as they existed

will exist. Being long sounds
and slow they take a great while to say

and we are in them a long time moving
slowly toward each other and back to ourselves.

Being in ourselves we are pulled slowly along
and side to side as if by the moon we say. We issue forth

long slow sounds occasionally as though speaking
for the moon when we are speaking about it.

There were and are ourselves making brief appearances
near rivers under moons. Speaking of rivers

we come to ourselves. Speaking
of ourselves we come to rivers and stop.

Jaime Brunton was a Walt Whitman Award finalist in 2009 and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship finalist in 2008.
Her work appears or is forthcoming in CutBank, Hotel Amerika, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. contact