Poem For Doom

Matthew Zapruder

Birds don’t lie
they are never lost
they never think
above the earth
I stole this form
or blue is the best
I listen to it
singing my old man
is far away
singing American
songs stolen
from those who lived
in what now is
but was not
the park which makes
me love him
I am eating an orange
someone grabbed
from nature
over me I hear
controlled mechanical
obsidian dragonflies
search for anarchists
for a long time
I went to school
in the palm of my life
carrying a stone
obeying the law
of semblance
now each night I bring it back
down to the land
asphodels cover
I wake
and take my son
out on the porch
to say hello
everything hello
green hills that slept
hello tree
drawn on the side
of a white truck
exorably rumbling
toward some hole
hello magnolia
whose pink
and white blossoms
have left it
for where
oh sweet doom
we are all going
then behind us
we close
the black door
with the golden knob
and sit
in the great
chair morning light
through the shades
always makes
look like a dream
forest throne
all around
our subjects
the shadow trees
rise up
their private thoughts
filling the room
I take them
like an animal
with gentle
ungrateful ceremony
from a leaf
takes dew

Matthew Zapruder is the author of four collections of poetry, as well as the recently released Why Poetry. His poetry, essays, and translations have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Tin House, and The Believer. An associate professor in the Saint Mary’s College of California MFA program and English department, he is also editor at large at Wave Books and, from 2016 to 2017, was the editor of the poetry page of the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife and son. This poem originally appeared in Tin House #65: Theft.

Matthew will be at Powell’s tomorrow evening (7:30pm) where he will be joined in conversation by Lidia Yuknavitch.