At the River View Café

By Chard deNiord

Featured Image: A Cliff Dweller’s Ceremony, Colorado by William Henry Holmes 1924

The wind blew all summer after you died.

A friend asked what I was feeling now

that you were gone. I said, “A great emptiness

and fullness at the same time. An unfamiliar gravity.”

But nothing I said conveyed what I felt exactly

despite my eloquence and gift for contradiction.

I was afflicted with the double loss of words and you.

Like a patient on a ward of the radiant world,

I sat at my table above the river and listened

to the wind flap the umbrellas like a tattered name.


Chard deNiord is the author of six books of poetry, In My Unknowing (U. of Pittsburg Press, 2020) Interstate (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), The Double Truth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), Night Mowing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2002) and Asleep in the Fire, University of Alabama Press, 1990). He is also the author of two books of interviews with eminent American poets titled I Would Lie To You If I Could (University of Pittsburgh Press) and Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs (Marick Press, 2011). He founded and co-directed The New England College MFA Program from 2001 to 2007 while also teaching at Providence College, where he worked until his retirement this year from 1998 to 2020 as a Professor of English and Creative Writing. In 2018 he became the essay editor of Plume Poetry Journal. He is a trustee of the Ruth Stone Trust and the former poet laureate of Vermont from 2015-2019. He lives in Westminster West, Vermont with his wife Liz.

Originally published in NOR Spring 2010.

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