Nick Courtright is the author of Punchline, a National Poetry Series finalist published in 2012 by Gold Wake Press, and Let There Be Light, which is forthcoming in early 2014. His work has appeared in The Southern Review, Boston Review, and Kenyon Review Online, among numerous others, and a chapbook, Elegy for the Builder’s Wife, is available from Blue Hour Press. Feel free to find him in Austin, Texas, or at nickcourtright.com.
In the springtime, in the winter, in the fall, there are only
so many seasons to go around.
scurries along on its regeneration, and whispers
thin in the air
dissipate like the idea of smoke.
Imagine souls intact and strange, like insects.
Few have embodied this so well as you,
you who do not have a name and never will.
Meanwhile, years pass like thoughts into a different place.
What is life? Avoid the easy answers. The clock on the wall
is a suggestion.
Crazed and priceless, what
is laid out as a possibility, faithfully, is what we best do.
History’s greatest counters say the largest numbers
are the most frustrating and satisfying
solace is to be found in most things, if not everything.
Also, what happens when we are not looking
cannot be answered by cameras—
there’s something silent about knowing and something loud
about unknowing. And,
like many excellent situations, vice versa.
Still, we are all still
here, in our opinions: like ghosts in love
with the living, we listen but find it difficult to speak.
Lost on the Planet Earth
When we go missing, we can blame
the search team, the rescue squad, the fleet of helicopters
competing with the calls of wild birds.
We can blame the earthworms
moving the land beneath us, the day
both too long and not long enough,
and the fact that, in these new bodies, we have only so much time.
We can fault the immensity of the forest, the smallness
of the human soul,
which have their way with the light of the sun
as it is brought across the backs of whales, or delivered
across the face
of the empty moon, deep
in the black soup of night.
Or we could take responsibility
for our own missing,
for how we wandered from where we were born,
that the maps we chose were outdated, all the roads renamed
or curiously mismarked.
That when we are finally found
our finders too will have become lost,
and will have found not only us but themselves.