Spring 2005

Brendan Constantine


Brendan Constantine Brendan Constantine is currently Poet In Residence at The Windward School in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Artlife, The Cider Press Review, Directions, Abalone Moon and other journals. He lives with his cat Maggie in an apartment once occupied by Bela Lugosi.
Litany    Click to hear in real audio

Why do we say Good Morning like a command
when we know it won't sit still? Why Good Night
when it won't be flattered?

Why do we whisper in the presence of trees or remove
our shoes to step on the skirt of the sea?

And why do we think of the lake as lonely
when the call of the duck does not echo?
Not even in the chambers of the heart.

Why do we treat infinity as old, as something
we may look into, when we know it is a teenaged boy
who looks no one in the eye?

See what fire does to the hands, water
to the brain, blood to the color of anything;
why do we pretend God isn't an animal,  
a big black beetle, antlered for the hoisting of stars?

Infinity keeps her in a box of sand, feeds her silence.
She in turn creates worlds that do not endure
so he'll feel older, grown up.

While we're at it, the sun and the moon have never
risen to greet anyone. The forest does not hear
gossip. The ocean prefers to dance alone.

And none are more abandoned than we who wait
in a wilderness for the children we have been
to lead us out.



Brendan Constantine: Poetry
Copyright © 2005 The Cortland Review Issue 28The Cortland Review