‘Unpacking a Globe’
A Poem by Arthur Sze

From Sight Lines

September 9, 2019  By Arthur Sze
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I gaze at the Pacific and don’t expect
to ever see the heads on Easter Island,

though I guess at sunlight rippling
the yellow grasses sloping to shore;

yesterday a doe ate grass in the orchard:
it lifted its ears and stopped eating

when it sensed us watching from
a glass hallway—in his sleep, a veteran

sweats, defusing a land mine.
On the globe, I mark the Battle of

the Coral Sea—no one frets at that now.
A poem can never be too dark,

I nod and, staring at the Kenai, hear
ice breaking up along an inlet;

yesterday a coyote trotted across
my headlights and turned his head

but didn’t break stride; that’s how
I want to live on this planet:

alive to a rabbit at a glass door—
and flower where there is no flower

__________________________

Sight Lines

From Sight Lines by Arthur Sze. Published with permission of Copper Canyon Press. 2019.




Arthur Sze
Arthur Sze
Arthur Sze has published ten books of poetry, including Sight Lines (2019); Compass Rose (2014), a Pulitzer Prize finalist; The Ginkgo Light (2009), selected for the PEN Southwest Book Award and the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Book Award; Quipu (2005); The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998 (1998), selected for the Balcones Poetry Prize and the Asian-American Literary Award; and Archipelago (1995), selected for an American Book Award. He has also published one book of Chinese poetry translations, The Silk Dragon (2001), selected for the Western States Book Award. A new letterpress chapbook, Starlight Behind Daylight, will be published by St. Brigid Press in the fall, 2019. Sze is the recipient of many honors, including the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers, a Lannan Literary Award, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing fellowships, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, and five grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry. His poems have been translated into a dozen languages, including Chinese, Dutch, German, Korean, and Spanish. Sze was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2017 and served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2012 to 2017. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts and was the first poet laureate of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives.








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