Bruce Bond is the author of sixteen books including, most recently, For the Lost Cathedral (LSU Press, 2015), The Other Sky (Etruscan Press, 2015), Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (University of Michigan Press, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, University of Tampa Press, 2016), and Gold Bee (Crab Orchard Open Competition Award, Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), Three of his books are forthcoming: Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (E. Phillabaum Award, LSU Press), Sacrum (Four Way Books), and Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, Parlor Press). Presently he is Regents Professor at University of North Texas.
Then my teacher told me to close my eyes
and observe the observer of the observer
and so on, down the long path of seeing,
the chiaroscuro of thought in the distance
like a field of starlight when the power goes.
See the seer, she said, and as I breathed
in waves against the dark, I saw my teacher.
I saw her porch lit with prayer flags
from Tibet: a light wind in the word flag,
a lighter word in the wind departing.
How it all fit in there, I will never know:
the flags, the words, the black canvas starred
in needles. And her, or my idea of her,
descending the stairs on her mechanical
chair devised for those who suffer daily
steps and thresholds beyond my understanding.
She told me once, you hear a note a suffering
in the higher resonance of laughter.
I confess. I do not hear the better half
of what I hear, though I feel the pull there
of missing things, of earth and its burden
beneath the pale lamentation of waves.
She is gone now. And shows up every time
I see a chair like this. I hear her curse
her feet of stone, not knowing I am there.
God, she says softly to herself.
They say the new moon can be traced in
the faint deflected sunrays of the planet.
That the sky we see is always bigger
than how we see it. Stars and mirrors.
Stars and dead stars. Tell me, teacher
in your field on fire. What else is there.