Rick Barot


When any word is called for, say that I am of.

When the tornado forms, that is the ruinous

kiss.  When the bamboo-green field sways,

think of tea.  When the vines thicken in

the heat, this is the medusa head consuming

its own stare.  When a man commitedly

steps to the ledge, this is the daguerreotype’s

cold glass face.  When winter, that is hemlock

prominent.  When mirror or letter or echo,

these are correspondences.  When the snow

is pink, something has been left motherless.

When singing, think of articulating silence.

When stars, history.  When the sword-gray,

fatherly rain, this is I have wandered the earth.



“Litany” is from the collection Want (Sarabande Books, 2008).