David Yezzi



From the false summit, coxcomb-cum-arête,
cool thermals underscore our frailties,
past edges where our wingless feet are set
and the long look down dilutes the evergreens.
As sandstone ends, the world of ghosts begins —
they sometimes rise up still in dreams, my love.
With one hand firm, I step onto the skin
of the abyss, embracing what’ s above
and severing spent ties to the scree below.
The filtered light turns lichen eerie green,
ushering in a world we hardly know,


I don’ t say things I don’ t want to say
or chew the fat with fat cats just because.

With favor-givers who want favors back,
I tend to pass on going for the ask.

I send, instead, a series of regrets,
slip the winding snares that people lay.

The unruffledness I feel as a result,
the lank repose, the psychic field of rye

swayed in wavy air, is my respite
among the shivaree of clanging egos

on the packed commuter train again tonight.
Sapping and demeaning — it takes a lot