Issue 35, Final Fringe

"Gauze" and three more poems

by Tony Leuzzi Issue 32 09.17.2012

Poems based on homophonic translations of poems by Miguel Hernandez


In a final flit of memory, he thought of the pines
at the edge of his land—
                                        tall green spears tipped with feathery snow—
in the middle of summer, as he lay on his bed.
Daylilies blazoned the walkways with orange.
Grasses gave buzzing. The bread ovens smoked. Between
bouts of hammering, roof workers sang
in their language of women, and, laughing, they
altered the pronouns, and hammered.
He heard only silence—
                                       winterwhite falling of flake upon flake,
crystalline ice swords hanging from eaves—
and thinking of no one he thought of
them all, an instant as thin and precise as a needle.


“There were three that night”—the woman said—
though she could not be sure of three, or if
what happened had happened at night. That it happened
at all she was certain was certain. “The curtains
were drawn, but I saw through their gauze.”
It occurred to her, then: from an opposite side
of diaphanous cloth, another might see her
day or night. And it was this realization—
rather than doubts she might have of how many and when—
that compelled her to amend her statement.


A stone’s throw away there are boys throwing stones—
little round gray ones covered in dust—
through a tire that hangs from a tree black with leaves, at a weathervane
crowning a house built of stone. The house where
a man of three marriages burned. Stone
hits stone. His ghost wakes to sing
Our Lady Ellipsis, the Princess of Brooms. And should
they leave cigarettes—
                                    one at each corner post, two at the door—
a ballad in numbers:
O Virgin of Vigilance / O Patron of Smoke.


In the bones of a fish the bristle of wheat
In the hook of a foot the ribs of a ship
In the curve of a cauldron the parting of sash
In the sponge of a bog a bend of the bow
In the crown of a flower a fiber of hemp
In a streak of white marble the mood of an age
In the tenth of a second the affect of grace
In the absence of water a turning of stone
In an act of seduction the plying of oars
In the door to a vowel the singing of wood
In the braid of intestines the coarse hemp of truth
In the prong of a tooth a path through the forest
In the unbranching antler the thwarting of schemes
In the sifting of lentils the bandage of war
In a turn of the lock the erasure of question
In a pattern of action the headgear of faith

Tony Leuzzi

Tony Leuzzi

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Tony Leuzzi is the author of three books of poetry, including Radiant Losses (New Sins Press 2010) and Fake Book (Anything Anymore Anywhere UK 2011). Hank’s Original Loose Gravel Press just published his chapbook 40,000 Crows, a series of syllabic Cadae poems based on the number pi.  In November 2012, BOA Editions will release Passwords Primeval, Leuzzi’s interviews with 20 leading American poets.