I had no idea the elf owl
Crept into you in the secret
I have torn myself out of many bitter places
In America, that seemed
Tall and green-rooted in mid-noon.
I wish I were the spare shadow
Of the roadrunner, I wish I were
The honest lover of the diamondback
And the tear the tarantula weeps.
I had no idea you were so tall
And blond in moonlight.
I got thirsty in the factories,
And I hated the brutal dry suns there,
So I quit.
You were the shadow
Of a hallway
I have never gone through that door,
But the elf owl's face
Is inside me.
You are not one of the gods.
Your green arms lower and gather me.
I am an elf owl's shadow, a secret
Member of your family.
|From Above the River: The Complete Poems by James Wright. Copyright © 1992. Reprinted by permission of the literary estate of James Wright. All rights reserved.|