Issue > Poetry
Zach Groesbeck

Zach Groesbeck

Zach Groesbeck is an MFA candidate at Texas State University. He has previously worked as an editorial assistant for Southwestern American Literature. His poetry and criticism can be found in Contemporary Haibun, Triggerfish Critical Review, Front Porch and Texas Books in Review.

Surrounding Trees

Fog so thick, it could be rain

With the passing nights, the leaves in the trees are less—

wind caught
carried upriver, erring
north for winter

At night the clouds look like a black and white photograph of moving water

Bare branches rattle like antlers in the bramble

On this holy day of obligation, caribou
wander the snowfield

wanting nothing

more than to be witnessed

Birdsong Amid Silence

                    El mediodía anida en tu tímpano.
                                                  —Octavio Paz

In one of his letters, a poet claimed that it's wrong to say, I think.
Stating that, instead, a person should say, I am thought.

I think he meant that we must be skeptical towards the actuality of anything
(save for our own thoughts),
questioning even our senses, even our physical beings.

Therefore, I am thought.

Someone who is dead said that.
This is solipsism, not metaphor.

During a poet's lifetime, the criticism of their work (if any) can be paraphrased:
Clay mountains molded
and then painted with the brushstrokes of a whimper.

Some people only read poets once they're dead.

News of your death placed me alone amongst
bookshelves, end of morning.

There is nothing that can be known as absolute.

Outside, an oak tree shivered
in a wind
like an oak tree shivering in a wind.

There were probably sounds the birds in that tree were murmuring.

Someone once called such sounds song;
now everyone calls such sounds songs—birdsongs.

But, because birds register an interval between octaves which exceeds twelve notes
(ignorant to key and scale), birdsong merely resembles music.
Birdsong is a human projection, wanting the mundane to be more beautiful.

I remember that morning being cloudy, the room sunlit to gray.