August 2008

Lisa Lewis


Lisa Lewis's books are The Unbeliever (Brittingham Prize, University of Wisconsin Press, 1995) and Silent Treatment (National Poetry Series, Puffin, 1998). She directs the creative writing program at Oklahoma State University and serves as poetry editor for the Cimarron Review.


The sky's white drawl slows the whole morning.
A crow calls from a clot of leaves, but its cry drops
Dumb as an eraser, and only one sparrow darts out
Of the grove, striking a path downward to clover
Curling the hill's cowlick.  Little to spare:
Through indulgence and recompense, you hope
To defy the undeniable, what can't be known,
The eye's tunnel to the shape it's drawn to,
Where the surprise is only that every furling
Opens to look like you. Crow and sparrow,
Grass and hill. All measure lacking is distance,
Or raindrops tapping maple leaves, fingers
On piano keys, the iteration of farms seeping
Through town, boundaries perjured. Nothing
To pair you with: you're nursing a hold
On pineland, pinfeather, an arch of walnut
Branch hugging a slice of horizon. You're counting
Shapes that march up a gangplank to travel
Elsewhere, you can only guess: at least the ravine
Where the habit of seeds is taking root. So this
Is how it feels to float above the world: circles
And circles. Speed is of the surface. Belief
Borrows the shuffle of tires, and the ache of thorax
And sacroiliac knocks together as the right ache:
Bones in a sack. Knotted at the top. Thin twine,
Crochet unstitched and white as the sky's forgiving
Eye. It considers. Wide open, it spots you flying.



Lisa Lewis: Poetry
Copyright ©2008 The Cortland Review Issue 40The Cortland Review