Walter Bargen has published eighteen books of poetry. His most recent books are: Days Like This Are Necessary: New & Selected Poems (2009), Endearing Ruins (2012), Trouble Behind Glass Doors (2013), Quixotic (2014), and Gone West (2014). He was appointed the first poet laureate of Missouri (2008-2009). His awards include a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship (1991), the Hanks Prize (1996), the William Rockhill Nelson Award (2005). His poems, essays, and stories have appeared in over 150 magazines. www.walterbargen.com
There’s no hurry to our staring.
There’s nothing we can do to change
what we see even as we slowly maneuver
our stiff bodies along this hallway.
Craning our necks, we look into a too low sky
and its fading painted clouds. We drop
out chins to look down as if we might charge
ahead into the glass and find ourselves inside
or out, but we won’t know the difference.
We count the sparse weed stalks within these four
tight corners and move cautiously closer,
nose nearly to the smudged pane, trying to bend
our sight, defy our seeing, parse our hope,
our belief, with a simulacrum of understanding
how this bird’s crown feathers remain motionless.
Wings cup the air, as it hovers and doesn’t hover
over an insect that will never move,
never be caught, just as the bird will never alert us
to its presence, tethered to this one pose,
wired to this country of our beautiful blindness.