poem index


Emily Wilson

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Emily Wilson is the author of The Great Medieval Yellows (Canarium Books, 2015), Micrographia (University of Iowa Press, 2009), and The Keep (University of Iowa Press, 2001). She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Wilson currently lives in Iowa City.

by this poet

Sparrows swiveling the feeder
so the seed whorls
so the dove can come from its fix
in the waver of cedars.
Some one makes a husk note
that a pair can flare into as if 
built from that scutch
of the undergrowth—
roughening birds, birds skimming into 
slits they fit into in trees between 
loads of the branches—
The mordants in their noise,
the night transports.

A means of coming to
the switchyard of the tongue.

To have once
set such store by

forced creatures.
Not changed toward

something of my own.
The towns raised chaffed

seas to ground them.
In that frieze before

storm you went on.
Effigy loomed out

Native it seems to no part
of the North American continent
but some islets off
the rugged scarps of the Aleutians
in the loose entablatured cliffs
among dwarf-willow tips.
Known if at all by its silhouette
(we can know such things by their silhouettes)
the red-legged kittiwake
glimpsed in isolate parts of