He winds through the party like wind, one of the just
who live alone in black and white, bewildered
by the eden of his body. (You, you talk like winter
rain.) He's the meaning of almost-morning walking home
at five A.M., the difference a night makes
turning over into day, simple birds staking claims
on no sleep. Whatever they call those particular birds.
He's the age of sensibility at seventeen, he isn't worth
the time of afternoon it takes to write this down.
He's the friend that lightning makes, raking
the naked tree, thunder that waits for weeks to arrive;
he's the certainty of torrents in September, harvest time
and powerlines down for miles. He doesn't even know
his name. In his body he's one with air, white as a sky
rinsed with rain. It's cold there, it's hard to breathe,
and drowning is somewhere to be after a month of drought.
 
"A Muse" from Some Are Drowning, by Reginald Shepherd. Copyright © 1995. Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.

Poems by This Author

Drawing from Life by Reginald Shepherd
Look: I am building absence
My Mother Was No White Dove by Reginald Shepherd
no dove at all, coo-rooing through the dusk
Occurrences across the Chromatic Scale by Reginald Shepherd
The way air is at the same time
Roman Year by Reginald Shepherd
The corrugated iron gates are
Syntax by Reginald Shepherd
Occasionally a god speaks to you


Further Reading

Poems Teens Like
Howl, Parts I & II
by Allen Ginsberg
Alice at Seventeen: Like a Blind Child
by Darcy Cummings
Ave Maria
by Frank O'Hara
Ballad
by Sonia Sanchez
Because it looked hotter that way
by Camille T. Dungy
Charlotte Brontë in Leeds Point
by Stephen Dunn
Cicada
by John Blair
Coach Losing His Daughter
by Jack Ridl
Dangerous for Girls
by Connie Voisine
Deer Hit
by Jon Loomis
Falling
by James Dickey
Flowers of Rad
by Sampson Starkweather
Ground Swell
by Mark Jarman
homage to my hips
by Lucille Clifton
In Knowledge of Young Boys
by Toi Derricotte
Lady Tactics
by Anne Waldman
Mairsy and Dosey
by Sharon Olds
Making a Fist
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Mermaid Song
by Kim Addonizio
Notes from the Other Side
by Jane Kenyon
Patience
by Kay Ryan
Possum Crossing
by Nikki Giovanni
Sticks
by Thomas Sayers Ellis
Thanks
by W. S. Merwin
That Sure is My Little Dog
by Eleanor Lerman
The Changing Light
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
The Fist
by Derek Walcott
The New Higher
by John Ashbery
The Pomegranate
by Eavan Boland
The Wild Iris
by Louise Glück
The Young Man's Song
by W. B. Yeats
White Apples
by Donald Hall
Workshop
by Billy Collins