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2 poems
by
Rae Gouirand

Rae Gouirand is the author of two collections of poetry, Glass is Glass Water is Water (Spork Press, 2018) and Open Winter (winner of the Bellday Prize, Bellday Books, 2011); the chapbooks Little Hour (winner of the Swan Scythe Chapbook Contest, Swan Scythe Press, 2022), Jinx (winner of the Summer Kitchen Competition, Seven Kitchens Press, 2019) and Must Apple (winner of the Oro Fino Competition, Educe Press, 2018); and a short work of nonfiction, The History of Art (winner of the Open Reading Competition, The Atlas Review, 2019). She leads several longrunning independent workshops in northern California and online, including the cross-genre workshop Scribe Lab, and lectures in the Department of English at UC-Davis.

Dedication

I love the bowl the way I love

the water’s surface: it both takes what comes

 

and offers it.

Some suggest the job of the poet

 

is to put silence around what is worth

remembering. I envision hands

 

like parentheses

enclosing space, how hands

 

mark that space on their way to coming

together just

 

in front. Not everything

need be said—

 

I suggest to my friend I will never tire

of considering the emptiness

 

made visible by form,

the form found in the hand of the maker,

 

the hand of the maker made

strange again by making.

 

I would spend my life considering, as one

considers stars, what is not

 

undedicated about that space

between the walls of that shape

 

which provides it, spontaneously, a place

it might rest, might return

 

after wandering, if it wanders,

as I imagine anything held so loosely might

 

almost animatedly—

almost as an anima in a world

 

of reproductions, in a cosmos

of stories passed down, in a flux of

 

dusts that spiral unending

through our naming. None see the calculus

 

we come from—bending, perhaps the contour

of some rim but mostly

 

we crane around what is shapeless,

wondering why we feel

 

some longing to fill ourselves

with something we were made to never know,

 

made to harbor longing for, made

to recognize but not possess,

 

made the cry of, made

the negative space of, made to express.

Private Argument

I count days I do not

hear, though

 

I wish to,

still.

 

If it means

there is nothing to—

 

if it means

you yet argue

 

that thing

you argue—