April 3, 2008: Visible World, Richard Siken

Visible World
Richard Siken

    Sunlight pouring across your skin, your shadow
                                                            flat on the wall.
        The dawn was breaking the bones of your heart like twigs.

You had not expected this,
               the bedroom gone white, the astronomical light
                                               pummeling you in a stream of fists.
    You raised your hand to your face as if

               to hide it, the pink fingers gone gold as the light
streamed straight to the bone,
    as if you were the small room closed in glass
                                         with every speck of dust illuminated.

    The light is no mystery,
the mystery is that there is something to keep the light
                                                           from passing through.


[Richard Siken won the Yale Series of Younger Poets award in 2004 for his fantastic book Crush, which I highly recommend.  It’s a book that tends to the cinematic, desperate and obsessive and powerful, but there are these tiny moments of grace, of calm, like this poem, or Meanwhile.  I like the simplicity of this, how he takes the most basic concept (“how strange it is to be anything at all,” to quote Neutral Milk Hotel) and makes it so tangible. Plus that third line just kills me.]

More like this:
Scheherezade, Richard Siken
Snow and Dirty Rain, Richard Siken
Litany in Which Certain Things are Crossed Out, Richard Siken

A year ago today:Anywhere Else, Maggie Dietz
Two years ago: After Work, Richard Jones
Three years ago: The Sheep-Child, James Dickey