This house is older than the lilac trusses glistening

       in winter ice,

older than the pack of Winstons on the wire chair,

older than the chair as well as this glass of water

       holding water. Is it older?

The house lurks under the sky, which has stood over it.

A time when this patch was a field, deer maybe shat in it,

       grazed a few leaves from a sprig, now fallen.<

The house is covered in fresh snowfall, lovely

       in reflected mercury light,

its weary glow damaging to the cardinal flirting

       between branches

of a stalled ornamental maple. Where is my head

       in this data? All this

indexical nomenclature. It’s not reassuring to know

       the names tonight, lousy and grigri and non.

Just words to fill space older than a house, a bird,

       this glass and my hand.

Peter Gizzi is the author of In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems 1987-2011 (Wesleyan, 2014), Threshold Songs (Wesleyan, 2011), The Outernationale (Wesleyan, 2007), Some Values of Landscape and Weather (Wesleyan, 2003), Artificial Heart (Burning Deck, 1998), and Periplum (Avec Books, 1992). He currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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