Sky Circling Among Branches

Christopher Buckley

I’m coming, I’m coming, wait up, stones!                                                     —Neruda

Good Pablo said the stones fell from the sky,
and science backs him up—all our beginnings
blasting out, clustering here or there
among the dark. . . .                                   Whatever spun,
fell inward, and finally became us, amounts to
four or five like myself walking around
in the mornings with our ticket stubs
of intuition.                    October, a vacancy in the trees,
a couple rags of cloud caught up there, dingy
blossoms floating branch to branch . . .                                                                 and nothing—
not the perfection of the waves or the borderless
dominion of birds, not the Southern Cross,
that shimmering signet of hope—saves even one
of us in our sleep. . . .                                      A night wind gallops
over the swells toward the islands at the end
of the sea. . . . Hands in my pockets,
all I turn up are keepsakes of dust,
the dulled archipelago of air stretching
beyond the tides.                              I go on, shuffling
down the path, whistling what was
once thought a lively tune, grateful
to be a satchel of ligaments and bone
still able to transfer enough chemicals,
one synapse to another, to understand
something is missing when I look up
and praise a streak of grey engraving
the hosannas of light, the spindrift
off the rocks, anything sent into the air,
post-dated to a god who,
in his infinite memory must know
he’s abandoned us here . . . so many
self-conscious bits of sand
in a starry whirlwind of desire.

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Christopher  Buckley

Christopher Buckley has published twenty books of poetry, several chapbooks and limited editions, and three memoirs. He is the editor of six poetry anthologies as well as critical books on the poets Philip Levine, Larry Levis, and Luis Omar Salinas. Buckley is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, two National Endowment for the Arts Grants, a Fulbright Award, four Pushcart prizes, and two awards from the Poetry Society of America, among other awards.

Praise for Christopher Buckley:

“Christopher Buckley’s gift for wide-ranging thinking meshes so gracefully with lovingly tender details, he feels like a companion voice for all time—a Hikmet, a Neruda, yes.”
—Naomi Shihab Nye

“The poems are modest, straight forward, intensely lyrical and totally accessible. . . . This is a humble poetry of great truths and profound emotions that never overstates its concerns for the events both in and above the world.”
—Philip Levine

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