Poets Walk: "First, the air:"

Poets Walk: "First, the air:"

Location on Poets Walk Map: 94


Notes for a Poem about a Dream about My Daughter in which Moths Unexpectedly Appear by Ralph Black

(for Anna)


First, the air: snapped black sheet,

a constellation of bruised plums, cold

like the dull, undangered edge of a knife.

Next, the way the planet swings, rocking

in its tresses, a voice like water,

a mouth like a dish of kisses. Later,

after the weather shifts, clamps down, and

stays, my daughter comes in from the yard,

a white sack behind her trilling with moths—

thousands of orange-winged, red-tipped moths,

eye-spots like a world of vision.

I think for a minute of cottonwood leaves,

the underside of late-maple, or stemless

berries eddied up at the sharp turning of a creek.

I think how flowers can name themselves,

my mouth being shaped by trillium, trillium, trillium.

The laundry bag blooms like a breath, lifts,

and flurries open: and the room fills

with what wings are, my daughter

gleaming at the clever, whirling world,

her hands pulsing with in- and exhalations,

readying us all to be lifted.


Ralph Black, ""Notes for a Poem about a Dream about My Daughter in which Moths Unexpectedly Appear"" from TURNING OVER THE EARTH. Copyright © 2000 by Ralph Black. Reprinted with the permission of Milkweed Editions, www.milkweed.org.