I Can Drink the Distance


As “a stone in love” with falling, “I wound the water’s face”
Then wear the mask of water all the way down into the lake.

The distance of my falling remains a loss, an abyss
I’ve consented to so arrive not as thought

But as some angel of derangement—failure, however brief,
Success—my flesh, fire in the lake, loss, lost—

It is as if now I understand Lucifer, for the first time,
Cast out, still naked in the grass, and for the first time, the grass

Appearing as the grass because there was something burning in it.
And risking to be seen. Prophet propheting prophecy. Love

Not as illumination but illumination itself;
The un-civilizing work of vision, trouble

And the freedom of addressing yourself only
To freedom, neither awaiting a flame stolen from God

Nor awaiting God stolen from a flame. In the lake,
I dwell as fire, as “a stone in love” with falling.

Roger Reeves is an associate professor of poetry and 2015 Whiting Award winner whose poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, The Nation, The Believer, Ploughshares, and elsewhere.

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