poem index

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

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, December 15, 2017
About this Poem 
“Iowa, my home state, was shaped by glaciers. When they finally melted, around the time people first settled in the Midwest, they left behind erratics, some they had carried for thousands of years. Those stones offer an everyday experience of the sublime in a place that is not known for its landscape.”
—Megan Levad

Foundling

        —for a sixty-seven-pound nugget of Lake Superior copper 
        found in an Iowa cornfield
 
Before the earliest flute
was carved from a vulture’s wing,
 
before we—what few we were—
bowed to the moon,
 
the balmy, secular night,
you were coming.
 
Snug in the great throat of a glacier.
Still as a wish, until its sighing end.
 
I like to think you waited years
for us, one shoulder greening in the damp,
 
the other burnished by long leaves
of wheat, before we called it wheat.
 
Or was it loess, the wind’s fine veil,
polished you so bright we would know you at first sight?
 
What have you seen in the ice and the earth?
Is hell cold, or hot?
 
Do you pray, too? And to what god? 
Or whale, or bigger rock?

Copyright © 2017 by Megan Levad. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 15, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Megan Levad. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 15, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Megan Levad

Megan Levad

Megan Levad is the author of What Have I to Say to You (Tavern Books, 2017) and Why We Live in the Dark Ages (Tavern Books, 2015).