Stephen Knauth lives in Charlotte and is the author of several collections of poetry, including The River I Know You By (Four Way Books). His poems have appeared in North American Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry Daily and Drunken Boat, among others. He has been awarded fellowships from the NEA and the North Carolina Arts Council.
The Dipper above the house
looks dry tonight, lovers
traveling along its handle for thousands of years.
There is the white around the robin’s eye
and some reason why, some religion why.
Young clouds seen drinking from the sea
perish without a soul
while the flag of a grateful nation
is folded and placed in a zip lock bag.
Left behind, the strict utility of things.
The garage, the door to the garage,
the teeth of the saw.
There is the dusky pink
along the dark shoulders
of an heirloom tomato
and the old mother
seated in her garden chair,
no one left to show the world to.
THE CRICKET AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD
Crossing Buford’s field, late September,
ryegrass, pigweed, lamb’s quarters, sumac.
Somber palette at the end of an age.
Stopping to tie a shoelace—listen.
A steady whirr, fragile secret center of things
from which creation itself seems to arise.
Listening, looking east.
There’s the yellow path that leads to the sea.
There’s the barn and the water tower and the town.
From limb to limb a bluebird goes
too fast to follow—until it’s swallowed by softwoods.
Its erratic path is a necessary
half-sprung spring in the grand mechanism.
We say leaves fall and they do.
We say time heals and mean our slow forgetting.
Pigweed, sumac. Stand and listen.
Not speaking, not moving. Yet wanting,
like a child, to stop the world with a footstep.
(Lament appeared in Water~Stone Review . The Cricket at the Center of the World appeared in The Cortland Review .)