Marianne Boruch

when he knew nothing.  A leaf
looks like this, doesn’t it?  No one
to ask. So came the invention
of the question too, the way all 
at heart are rhetorical, each leaf
suddenly wedded to its shade. When God 

knew nothing, it was better, wasn’t it? 
Not the color blue yet, its deep 
unto black.  No color at all really, 
not yet one thing leading to another, sperm 
to egg endlessly, thus cities, thus 
the green countryside lying down 
piecemeal, the meticulous and the trash, 
between lake and woods 
the dotted swiss of towns along 
any state road. Was God

sleeping when he knew nothing? As opposed
to up all night (before there was night)
or alert all day (before day)? As opposed to that,
little engine starting up by itself, history,
a thing that keeps beginning
and goes past its end. Will it end, this
looking back? From here, it’s one shiny
ravaged century after another,
but back there, in a house or two: a stillness,
a blue cup, a spoon, one silly flower raised up
from seed. I think so fondly of the day
someone got lucky
and dodged the tragedy meant for him. It spilled
like sound from a faulty speaker
over an open field. He listened from
a distance. God-like, any one of us
could say.

From Grace, Fallen From by Marianne Boruch. Copyright © 2008 by Marianne Boruch. Published by Wesleyan University Press.

Marianne Boruch (Professor, MFA, University of Massachusetts). Boruch has written 12 poetry collections, four essay collections, and a memoir.

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