Night Gardening by Michael Palmer

A reader writes to complain
that there are no cellphones in my poems,
so here is one,

its body chrome,
its face a metallic blue.
It’s neither transmitting nor receiving.

A woman from Duluth requests
that I cease sending secret messages
to her in my poems.

This I will do forthwith.

And the blackbird at evening.

She says, You have misrepresented the river
there where it turns

by the holm oak and the bed
of winter hyacinths.

This I will correct.

A recent letter unsigned:
You’ve mangled the citations from Hölderlin,

and none will mistake your skies
for those of Dominikos Theotokopoulos.

Opines a good citizen, concerned parent,
Your nefarious syntax
has infected my first-born—

have you a heart of stone?

And the poem, from its homeless home,
writes of blindsight and silence,

the blackbird at evening,
nothing you can see.

— from Company of Moths
(New Directions Books, 2005)

MICHAEL PALMER is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Notes for Echo Lake; At Passages; Promises of Glass; and most recently, Company of Moths. He will give a public reading of his work on Wednesday, November 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Soda Center. This fall he won the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. This semester, Michael Palmer is serving as the MFA Program’s Distinguished Poet in Residence.

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