Nebraska Center for Writers

by Michael Anania

"par la lumière naturelle"


in or among
  the gray unsettling
    consequence of things--

"did you sigh
  just then or simply move
    your arm across fresh linen?"

splash of pigment,
  chrome yellow, surely
    accidental, though so

much of our sense
   of things will ultimately
    depend upon it, we will

certainly suppose
  varying degrees of
    intention--"you think

you could maybe
  let me see inside,
    just once"--that is

if one thing depicts,
  then any other thing
     might just as well, burnt

sienna or carmine red,
   ultra-marine blue, as certain
     a source as anyone might imagine,

quicksilver trails,
  the crystal fray that marks
    invisible passages; quick! quick!

a lantern among bonfires,
  flake white moths threading
    nervous light, powdery paradiso;

"I mean, as long as we're
  here amid the locust trees"
    nd the shadows are all falling

in the same general
  direction, there must be
    a tune that contains this,

a box step we can count
  our way through together,
    something to catch the instant

and turn it back our way,
  feints of cursive red neon
    across wet pavement, the hum-

drum inevitability
  of truck tires, uneven
    carbon residues across concrete


"uncertain of all,"
  the lapsed time so finely
    calibrated that even the shaky

false leaves opening,
  unsheathed translucent
    stem snaking toward the light,

have numbers they play at,
  and confirm, bits of soil
    tumbling slowly backward;

day by day, conformation,
  things, that is, becoming
    themselves; "how is it color

seems to matter," qualities
  that eventually adhere,
    masses of leaves and summer

darkly weighing; she said,
   as others had certainly,
    "reckoning with consequences,"

meaning the processes of
   reasoning, or was it the mind
    at play, flowers trembling

against their buds,
  liquid now, now solid,
    the simplist of equations

unformed and brushed
   across some waiting green;
     the bristles' chance impressions

in fresh paint catch
   the afternoon light,
     petal on petal petalling;

imagine, that is, the rose,
   its string of re-animated
     photographs played in among

a desire for roses,
  torqued upward into
the descending intention

of color however casually
  chosen, and what is said
    in time is always temporal,

hence song and dance
   swaying from axis to axis,
     words like gauds spun and spinning

Reprinted with permission
from Selected Poems
Copyright © 1994
by Michael Anania
Moyer Bell Ltd

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