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About this poet

Born in Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1953, David Rivard is the author of Sugartown (Graywolf Press, 2005); Bewitched Playground (2000); Wise Poison, which won the 1996 James Laughlin Award; and Torque (1987), which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and was published by the Pitt Poetry Series.

Rivard's honors include two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and fellowships from the Massachusetts Arts Foundation and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He has also received the Celia B. Wagner Award from the Poetry Society of America and a Pushcart Prize.

David Rivard is Poetry Editor at the Harvard Review and teaches at Tufts University and the Vermont College MFA in Writing Program. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Moon in Time Lapse

David Rivard, 1953

The moon in time lapse sliding over skyline
the way a remote frisbee might wheel through air
as slowly as a banjo once floated across the wide
Missouri River in my mind when as a boy
the devil to pay permitted me to dream-up
my get-away from home, far from my parents'
witchy vigilance & the wine-barrel cellars
of their household—this after my experimental
stuffing of a dinner fork into a light socket
in the green gazebo under backyard grapevines.
That fuse box blown & blackened was the bliss
of departure—it was thrilling, but sometimes
I have to stop to touch my life & see if it's real.
How surprising to find that I wanted so much,
and mostly got it. My fantasies are fewer now
(one involves living through a day without
resentments, the other getting seated next to
gorgeous Fanny Ardant on a puddle jumper).
No need to see my life as a story the world
has to read, no need for sentimental
mooning & nostalgia—blessed with a bit
of amnesia anyway, I don't recall much
of what went down. I know that it's engraved
there on some cellular level, & that I can't
command the consequences. Like a spider
who has climbed atop a survey stake in a bull-
dozed field, I feel slightly truer in any case.

Copyright © 2011 by David Rivard. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2011 by David Rivard. Used with permission of the author.

David Rivard

David Rivard

Born in 1953, David Rivard is the author of Wise Poison, which won the 1996 James Laughlin Award

by this poet

poem
A curtain bellying like a pregnant cloud, warm white
light refracted through a tumbler of peat-smoked scotch—
a scorcher of a day at cooling end, with stupendous berries
to eat in lieu of supper, the scoffed pint box of blueberries
chased by a half of cantaloupe & Maytag blue cheese
spread across the remains
poem
I've died enough by now I trust
just what's imperfect or ruined.  I mean God,
God who is in the stop sign
asking to be shotgunned, the ocean that evaporates even
as we float.  God the bent nail & broken lock,
and God the hangnail.  The hangnail.
And a million others might be like me, our hopes
a kind of