Last week, we posted three poems by Frank Bidart, one of the five nominees for this year’s National Book Award in poetry for his new collection, Metaphysical Dog. This week, we’ll post poems by another nominee, Lucie Brock-Broido, whose new book, Stay, Illusion, is praised by Dan Chiasson in this week’s New Yorker for its “frolicsome gravity.” Our first selection from Brock-Broido is “A Girl Ago”:
No feeding on wisteria. No pitch-burner traipsing
In the nettled woods. No milk in metal cylinders, no
Buttering. No making small contusions on the page
But saying nothing no one has not said before.
No milkweed blown across your pony-coat, no burrs.
No scent of juniper on your Jacobean mouth. No crush
Of ink or injury, no lacerating wish.
Extinguish me from this.
I was sixteen for twenty years. By September I will be a ghost
And flickering in unison with all the other fireflies in Appalachia,
Blinking in the swarm of it, and all at once, above
And on a bare branch in a shepherd’s sky. No Dove.
There is no thou to speak of.