poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this poet

Marianne Boruch is the author of eight poetry collections, including Cadaver, Speak (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). She teaches at Purdue University and in the graduate program for writers at Warren Wilson College. Boruch lives in West Lafayette, Indiana.

What God Knew

Marianne Boruch
when he knew nothing.  A leaf
looks like this, doesn’t it? No one
to ask. So came the invention
of the question too, the way all 
at heart are rhetorical, each leaf
suddenly wedded to its shade. When God 

knew nothing, it was better, wasn't it? 
Not the color blue yet, its deep 
unto black.  No color at all really, 
not yet one thing leading to another, sperm 
to egg endlessly, thus cities, thus 
the green countryside lying down 
piecemeal, the meticulous and the trash, 
between lake and woods 
the dotted swiss of towns along 
any state road. Was God

sleeping when he knew nothing?  As opposed 
to up all night (before there was night) 
or alert all day  (before day)?  As opposed to that,
little engine starting up by itself, history, 
a thing that keeps beginning
and goes past its end. Will it end, this
looking back?  From here, it's one shiny 
ravaged century after another, 
but back there, in a house or two: a stillness, 
a blue cup, a spoon, one silly flower raised up 
from seed.  I think so fondly of the day 
someone got lucky 
and dodged the tragedy meant for him. It spilled 
like sound from a faulty speaker
over an open field. He listened from
a distance. God-like, any one of us
could say.

From Grace, Fallen From by Marianne Boruch. Copyright © 2008 by Marianne Boruch. Published by Wesleyan University Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

From Grace, Fallen From by Marianne Boruch. Copyright © 2008 by Marianne Boruch. Published by Wesleyan University Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Marianne Boruch

Marianne Boruch

Marianne Boruch is the author of eight poetry collections, including Cadaver, Speak (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). She teaches at Purdue University and in the graduate program for writers at Warren Wilson College. Boruch lives in West Lafayette, Indiana.

by this poet

poem
Someone arranged them in 1620.
Someone found the rare lemon and paid
a lot and neighbored it next 
to the plain pear, the plain
apple of the lost garden, the glass
of wine, set down mid-sip—
don’t drink it, someone said, it’s for
the painting.  And the rabbit skull—
whose idea was that?  There had
poem

                                   —in memory


Eventually one dreams the real thing.

The cave as it was, what we paid to straddle
one skinny box-turned-seat down the middle, narrow boat
made special for the state park, the wet, the tricky

passing into rock

poem
Everyone should have a little fugue, she says,
the young conductor 
taking her younger charges through
the saddest of pieces, almost a dirge
written for unholy times, and no, 
not for money.
                Ready? she tells them, measuring out 
each line for cello, viola, violin.
It will sound to you
not quite