Under the Railway Bridge in Albi
For Jean Rochefort
Can you smell it,
Wood-smoke inside the camera?
A lost repose:
Stepping backwards into the photograph
I forget the garden waste on fire
Which is happiness, which becomes
Small snow falling across my world.
God is the smoking perimeter
Of His eternal November.
In the photograph,
My hair is new and smells like fire.
I have forgotten the garden
Because I said so.
A man removes the animal from his eye,
And the animal dies—
When I was alone I traveled
The entire way around the Earth on snow.
I was fast.
You were old.
Fleeing the sunken capital, almost naked,
You made your way to me. Sunlight
We rest now, unsteady but at rest,
On a broken parallel of white eucalyptus.
I see the butterfly mating with a moth—
Parallel animals made from me.
They are sad in the shadows,
Happy when the sun escapes the tree.
Donald Revell is the author of ten collections of poetry, most recently of A Thief of Strings (2007) and Pennyweight Windows: New & Selected Poems (2005), both from Alice James Books. Winner of the 2004 Lenore Marshall Award and two-time winner of the PEN Center USA Award in poetry, Revell has also received the Gertrude Stein Award, two Shestack Prizes, two Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the NEA as well as from the Ingram Merrill and Guggenheim Foundations. He is also the author of three volumes of translation: Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell(Omnidawn, 2007), Apollinaire’s Alcools (Wesleyan, 1995) and The Self-Dismembered Man: Selected Later Poems of Guillaume Apollinaire (Wesleyan, 2004). Revell’s critical writings include Invisible Green: Selected Prose (Omnidawn, 2005) and The Art of Attention: A Poet’s Eye(Graywolf, 2007).