- What We Used to Call a River
There used to be clouds thenand the sky was blueand from either the twelfth floor over the wateror the back porch near the redbudwe used to admire them bothand it could have been red—the sky—may god forbidbut what it was, at least to human eyes—who knows the physics knows this—the sky was blue because of the radiation,shorter wavelengths and such,and you would have loved it—you who watchedBody and Soul with John Garfieldand The Wild Ones, with Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroeand you would have played with the cloudsalligators that ate their prey, lovers whobumped their foreheads before the transformationthe wind alone starting the quarrel,sitting by what we used to call a river. [End Page 105]
Gerald Stern was born in Pittsburgh in 1925. His most recent books of poetry include Galaxy Love (2017), Divine Nothingness (2014), In Beauty Bright (2012), Early Collected Poems: 1965–1992 (2010), and Save the Last Dance (2008). Among other honors, he served as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2006.