Recitations

By J. Estanislao Lopez

Featured Art: The Petite Creuse River by Claude Monet

  1. The Mountain Recites a Poem

The enunciation of one syllable
lasts two thousand years.

The only mode it knows:
confessional. All it has witnessed,

condensed into a single line.
We’ve compiled the research,

and can say with some certainty
that the first word is Above.

2. The River Recites a Poem

Obsessed with revision, the river
never completes a line. No one

attends its readings anymore
as they go on for months.

Each phrase spills out, then
is sucked back in and altered. This

continues until, by the merciful
winter, the river is shushed.

3. The Sky Recites a Poem

The first experimentalist, the sky
reduces every image to abstraction.

Soap dispenser becomes Absolution.
Mandolin string becomes Disquietude.

Its diction of emptiness surrounds the reader
until he is extinguished—This isn’t murder.

This is nothing but the semblance
of control.


J. Estanislao Lopez’s poems have appeared in POETRY, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Waxwing, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers and lives in Houston.

Piece originally published in NOR 13.

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