It starts with the lamp that lamped our night our dirt. Cause of this (wear-balded) red-mud ring going glow. The old ever-voice (with the tear through it) intonating, rivering.Souls and appetites (from holler, brink, and gully) lured and drawn. The story-man encircling us binding us by lard-torch and ditty. So. In the beginning. And it came to pass.Tale-flicker in his crackling voice; blackening kerosened cattail held high: Some say what she’d gripped right then wadn’t vine but bullsnake. Hadn’t they clung tooth and claw to branch and bark.When the creekthroat child got beat got hided fresh his mama broke her switch. Damned if dog-daisies beanstalks didn’t fank up in the spokes. —Our pulse.Our (crescendo-timbrous) amphi-glade of bug-chirk, burgeon. Well was it green as that ever. Bright breath of the lamp that lamps our night. (Our dirt.) [End Page 135]
Atsuro Riley is the author of Romey’s Order (University of Chicago Press, 2010), winner of the Whiting Writers’ Award, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, The Believer Poetry Award, and the Witter Bynner Award from the Library of Congress. His work has been honored with the Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Pushcart Prize, and the Wood Prize, given by Poetry magazine. Brought up in the South Carolina Lowcountry, Riley lives in San Francisco.