In the Parentheses — Daniel Bosch

In the parentheses

of Elizabeth Bishop’s Geography III

I’d time enough
To play with names
So big they were more
Like lion-prints.

I could read.
And I’d have given years,
Or taken a few,
For any sort of kettle.

Of course many things
About this place
Are dubious, I think.
It had the weirdest

Scale on earth—a sketch
For a larger one? The joking voice,
A gesture I love?
Or, safe as houses—boiled

With bicarbonate of soda—
A yesterday I find
Impossible to lift?
They were the artist’s specialty.

Also death. Still
There are creatures,
Careful ones, overhead.
They set down their feet.

They walk green, red; green red.
Moths have got in the fur.
Write it! We all feel something.
Accounts of that have everything all wrong.

Daniel Bosch is Senior Editor at Berfrois. He teaches writing at Emory University.