Carolyn Guinzio

Bent Trillium
New Poems From the USA


[Blood & Paint]

Consonant sky, cut by white,
the oval
is always covered.

On a low chair mixing color a painter
will not pin
the living in place.

(in every lot, a thicket)
still for me.

Let me hold the thorns aside.
They grow here
for you, they spring back

as if it never rained.

A wild ivory and burgundy,
an open center

Have you ever been
moonless, a sound

A painter will let
each of three leaves
arrow the lines between

her fingers, the edges
each other, a falling

gradual, so much so
you may not

[Flood Plain]

Water skimmers knock
against the grass,
the pull of our shoes.

In her words:
I was not so unloved
in the world, not so
without reciprocity,

not easy

to say it was my own
bones I wanted
to hold against the sky.

Filled treads lead
to the lit
spot, the chair.

[Night Lot]

Storm-angled thistle and chicory sprout
around rails. Trains river you out of a city.
In dark, switch light bleeds
Into the fields, or green corn dark
Is purpling toward the flourescence.
Beneath her sloping top-story porch,
The criminal and the law call up
From their chase: The comfort of a common
Lot, the ennobling mortal nearness.
Smaller still at the edge of an alley,
a praying mantis drains its green to grey.

[Interpreted Walk]

In truth, there is no point
from which we can see.
You are in the gloom of standing
timber. The bridge is a bridge of chanting.
(Hold up your palm and say:) Listen.
Listen. The things that rolled up
still roll up against us. There is always
one chair at the edge of a river.
What the emptiness means is what
your emptiness means: What is growing
there? Is it cold? If I am turned under,
will I be left? This mud is wanting.
Stay closer than you would.

[Three Leaves]

A bellow, uncut blanket of mouths,
an open vowel

Among thorns and cedars, the crack
and tremor

A drop of black in the center
of an oval

Bent back, lined with stones,
a path half-

You can't hold a child
on either side

A woman could, then, and train
her lenses on
a point.

Unmoved, each thing within has changed,
or does it

[Chanting Bridge]

The bed beneath is quiet
other than in flood, but above,
a close dissonance, body
leaning on body, the chord
binding us down out of sky.
Nodding under leaves,
the weight of thought
draws down the eye: There,
in the story, the hopper
and the wasp. Put your palms
to your ears and listen. Listen.
It narrows. It allows
only one note at a time.

[Filled Treads]

They carry you away, beside the empty chair.
Half-sunk in river mud, what the emptiness means.
If you are turned under, it doesn't disappear.
These are replicas of the original: shoes, flowers,
She knew the bed, the water, the body can't be caught.
Mixing color, a painter, a child on each side.
Steady yourself on yourself and look down. Look down.
Your prints are replicas of the original prints.
Our treads will carry them away, the seeds.
What sprouts in the alley, an edge of the lot.
The rails, the river, everything, wearing it down.


Where there is nothing, a sliver will begin.
Where they are walking, voiceless, unquiet,
discord. All the smaller lights are brightened.
Orient yourself and think, see? See? Useless
for marking the path. Whatever slithers
from their shuffling, shock-breath
drowned in the sound of sumac and weeds
circling their ankles and letting them go.
They walk in the direction of the edge.

[Bent Trillium]

Stop what you're doing and look.
Look up. What do you not want
to see? The thing has been built

on a single image. Floating
in the water, caught on a worn
stone. A tanager stands on the edge

of the chair. A hopper in the shadow
of a shoe. Missing color, a painter
lifts the bent head, the covered

center, the ivory weather-spread.
A frost is waiting half-way around
to change each thing within.

Break them down beneath the cast,
or do they disappear? If it never
rained, the bridge would be useless.

Swimming in the little pools
of her prints, the seeds will carry
down. Down where the root

narrows to allow the thin
drone, a vein. She wanted
to hold her own bones to the sky.

Then, on each side a child still rolled
against us. Now, you have to rise
and raise your eyes.