Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Absence by Michael Lynch

There is inside her words a river where no one speaks
the branches of dead trees appearing here as white roots
her hands weaving inside the white water’s texture the eyes of a young woman standing without movement

I thought perhaps it was the light later she said it was
the stillness that held her to this crossing the wind sudden in its absence frozen within that memory of white

I asked her, after awhile, Who are you? she was so still, her eyes, her hands empty, the light without movement I imagined she was telling me again how we would never be absent from each other because of the words we use to dream each other into existence
even now years later
the light covering the statue’s eyes white with sun
I hear again the silence

her hands cupping its stillness like a shell holding me here, whispering into the empty trees
seeing the six white birds passing above my words like a boat drifting into the stone eye of the bridge,

where on the other side is the boatman wearing a soft hat like mine an old man telling his story knowing in that same instant it is a boy’s too, the past and the future reversed, no longer holding each other’s hands now we have gone past the barrier

she told me once there is a woman thinking of you
who brings you into existence though I knew each man she remembered would have the same lines in his hands, his eyes
each evening by the river each afternoon would see the small moon behind the curtains becoming the light that was absent inside all things that die,
the smell of her hands even now in this light have become a stone heavy with emptiness

remember she said to me that day, we must forgive each other and god

each time

the absence that is here inside our words becomes like an invisible child hiding from the light’s annihilation

+ + + + +

Michael Lynch lives in a small village in the South of France and teaches creative writing at the Skidmore College Program in France. Most of his work has been published by small presses. His most recent book was called "Experiments in the Architecture of Light". He has also published a novel: "An American Soldier" (Little Brown) and has recently finished working on a trilogy. An opera libretto which he wrote, "The Magician", won a National Endowment for the Arts award.

This is part of a series of poems from invited poets. Previous contributors were Luke Heeley, Joe Ross, George Szirtes, Elizabeth Spackman, Ivy Alvarez, Rufo Quintavalle, Todd Swift, Michelle Noteboom, Beverley Bie Brahic, Ethan Gilsdorf, Amy Hollowell, Choman Hardi, and Jeramy Dodds, Jennifer K. Dick. Illustration by Jonathan Wonham.


Lucy said...

A wonder. Thanks both.

Unknown said...

This is what is the mystery of language - how it can travel from one mind to another - from one corner of the world to another- and create a unique piece of our existence.

margo berdeshevsky said...

Oh what a fine poem! Michael.Many congrats on a poem that sings and sigh.
And all blessings,

margo berdeshevsky

Anonymous said...

Thank you...

from everywhere

Patry Francis said...

Thank you for introducing me to this fine poet. I will definitely seek out more of his work.

Mark said...

Is this the same Michael Lynch who taught at an Antioch College summer program in Oxford about 30 years ago and wrote a poem called "First Snow"?

Anonymous said...

Hello Mark, my husband Scott and I just saw your post here. Scott and I went to the Antioch International programs, he to the graduate program in Oxford and myself to the Year Abroad program in London where we met 35 years ago through Michael!
And if you happen to see this Michael (!) here's a hello from Megan and Scott all these years later thanks to your introduction!
All the best!