after Rimbaud

A Poem by Sarah Burgoyne

April 29, 2021  By Sarah Burgoyne

this sun, murder grotto, dune among naked bodies, sky’s zero
in my glass; think through it. a babbling sound through my
days. it flows around me, through the sun, then closer to me.

midnight nails its hour to the wall, at the edge of the room –
the dream plant in a pot of gold – beside cups of ink, the plant’s
contraptions, the silence of the plant and its reaching and aging.

the born moon, the figuring, the forgotten shirt,

and soon i shall have this sound in me. and that sound.


here is the closed room, behind the chrysanthemums, the
dead little room and its mat of astroturf, the whole sky is
luminous (in the room), and the great obstacle is what has
already taken place.

genius is this power of dying. her tragic love of life.

you follow hello to the sound of a friend. the castle is now
open. you may go inside. the women who have given themselves
are hanged in unbelievable cruelty. surrounded by smells and
rotting meat.

well, all is changed; the desert has come to you. besides, there’s
nothing to see.


the springs rise and dry, the sunny field is raised without
apologies, the weathercock, crosswinds, and wingspans form
an isthmus to the sun, the sun, the field’s headress. the gold
steeple of the desert stretches its arms to the curbs of your
street and needles flowers through your window.
(the talking stones were pissed and murmuring. The
astroturf was growing. zeros were asking no questions as stages
on the way to unrewarded perfection.)


in the room, there is a creak, its sound stops you and makes
you quiet.

there is a repetition.
there is the sound of a fountain that is just a sound.
there is a fitted sheet and a gold frame.
there is a patterned glass and there is water in the glass.
there is a blue inkpot and an amber inkpot.
there is a disappearance (the sun).
there is a repetition.


i am the player on the pond, figuring a move, as this year lasts
longer than the last.

i am the right structure for the beam of this sun. its drunken
laundry setting.

i am the space the cracking sound took. i am opening the

someday, i’ll be the length of the shadow of the tree’s sad hand.

it’s harder to cross here, but when you do, you walk to a
narrowing point. it’s beautiful if you look at it across the music.


i pay with time because it’s precious to me. and the pattern
round the glass is red and permanent.

i turn the plant every hour so it grows right. i know the spaces
sound between the words.

i close off the room because it is better to say nothing and pay
attention to everything else. three cats and two dogs. their inner


at dusk, the angles stack up against the wall; each is a line-up
of art. what it would look like to orchestrate a late dying.
already half skeletal. and the work you got done.


Because the Sun, by Sarah Burgoyne

Excerpted from Because the Sun, by Sarah Burgoyne, available April 27 from Coach House Books. Excerpted with permission of the publisher.

Sarah Burgoyne
Sarah Burgoyne
Sarah Burgoyne’s first collection, Saint Twin (Mansfield, 2016), was a finalist for the A. M. Klein Prize in Poetry, awarded a prize from L'Académie de la vie littéraire, and shortlisted for the ReLit Award. Other works have appeared in journals across the U.S., have been featured in scores by American composer J. P. Merz, and have appeared within or alongside the visual art of Susanna Barlow, Jamie Macaulay, and Joani Tremblay. Her newest poetry collection, Because the Sun, is out April 2021 from Coach House Books.

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