Weekly Poem: ‘bound isaac’

By D.A. Powell

late the hour he came to me, a failing

& had nobody, assumed I would have nobody
now & forever amen

he was an agreeable boy straight-toothed, fair
a glinting countenance

as the waiting had been a test
as the clarity of irrefutable heaven had been withheld

& had nobody arrived in those last months
this little pinch of salt and this cold dwelling were all

then the charge of my soul would be lost
and my voice, too, pass into dust
and I would say: great is the dust
take me into the dark, into the dark and lovely void

having no fortune to wager, I’d wager

then, given the increase —

then, given the seed and limb —

what demand it were to accept such intimacy

the worse to waive

chest of bronze, the lift and fall of his likeness
his lips his uncovered loins

the incense of newly-turned fields was everywhere
the dew upon recent blades

and I perceived the god of abandon

tense in the space between his passive body—
his body—and the boundless reach

D.A. PowellD.A. Powell is the author of “Chronic” (Graywolf Press), which won the 2010 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. The award, which comes with a $100,000 prize, is given annually by Claremont Graduate University to honor work by a mid-career poet.

“Chronic” is Powell’s fourth collection and was named a best book of the year by Publishers Weekly and the Los Angeles Times. It is also a finalist for the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry.

Powell has taught at Columbia University, the University of Iowa, Sonoma State University, San Francisco State University, and served as the Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Poetry at Harvard University. He currently teaches at the University of San Francisco.

Powell’s poem from last week can be found here.

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