June 2006

Rachel Wetzsteon


Rachel Wetzsteon Rachel Wetzsteon is the author of three books of poems, most recently Sakura Park (Persea, 2006), as well as a critical study of W.H. Auden. She teaches writing and literature at William Paterson University and the Unterberg Poetry Center of the Ninety-Second Street Y.
Gold Leaves    

Someone ought to write about (I thought       
and therefore do) stage three of alchemy:
not inauspicious metal turned into
a gilded page, but that same page turned back
to basics when you step outside for air
and feel a radiance that was not there                                             
the day before, your sidewalks lined with gold.                                 



Five-Finger Exercise    

When things get hot and heavy this weekend or one August
twenty years from now, and I start tapping hexameters
up and down the shoulder-blades of my beloved (insert
auspicious, trustworthy-sounding, stolid but fun name here
for I can conjure none), I hope I do it right,
never losing sight of the skin whose golden toughness
allows the counting, never moving my fingers so briskly
that I can't hear his breathing, and never forgetting, even
in the lonely heights of sublimest inspiration´┐Ż
What is your substance?... O rose ... and grey and full of sleep´┐Ż
to flip the warm flesh over and whisper, It had to be you.



Rachel Wetzsteon: Poetry
Copyright ©2006 The Cortland Review Issue 32The Cortland Review