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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, December 14, 2016.
About this Poem 

“As spring turned and the hills went yellow, I kept going back to walk around the empty lake—the grass there kept its color a month after everything else had withered. Then it went too. I couldn’t quite convince myself that life would return; it felt like a foretaste of the greater change. And this was the world in which a love poem seemed possible, even necessary.”
—Noah Warren

Cattail History

The lake dry; it seethes.
Rust creeps through
brittle reeds, seeps into
the rustling seed-heads—
one stalk bows
beneath the weight
of the blackbird’s feet.

From the path edge
the fat lizard barks,
a silent croak.
He pivots, sprints over sticks,
plunges into shallow hole.

His dull eyes glowing in the hole—

The late heat spreading, prickling
the inside of our faces—

an earth crumbles away
around us, scales
dropping from the eye.

And I love you, and I think
time is mind—
our heads globes
of unsifted time.

A disc of mist floats up,
brightens above the live oak.

Far grass tips wave, bend, flow.
The doom is in their roots too—
but it is still so early,

the sky is still stiffening
to a blue so dark
and clear I shiver

to shake a finer silence
from its skin. 
 

Copyright © 2016 by Noah Warren. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 14, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Noah Warren. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 14, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Noah Warren

Noah Warren

Noah Warren is the author of The Destroyer in the Glass (Yale University Press, 2016). 

by this poet

poem

With the mower passing over
the lawn this August morning

shirtless, lightheaded

it is such easy going, you just
push it along and the fresh swathe
follows after, good machine,

and what Mother called the smell of order
wafts up from the headless
plants

poem

More than a hundred dollars of them.

It was pure folly. I had to find more glass things to stuff them          
       in.

Now a white and purple cloud is breathing in each corner

of the room I love. Now a mass of flowers spills down my                  
      dining table—

each

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