Larry Levis Poems
The Poem You Asked For
My poem would eat nothing.
I tried giving it water
but it said no,
Day after day,
I held it up to the llight,
turning it over,
but it only pressed its lips
more tightly together.
It grew sullen, like a toad
through with being teased.
I offered it money,
my clothes, my car with a full tank.
But the poem stared at the floor.
Finally I cupped it in
my hands, and carried it gently
out into the soft air, into the
evening traffic, wondering how
to end things between us.
In A Country
My love and I are inventing a country, which we
can already see taking shape, as if wheels were
passing through yellow mud. But there is a prob-
lem: if we put a river in the country, it will thaw
and begin flooding. If we put the river on the bor-
der, there will be trouble. If we forget about the
river, there will be no way out. There is already a
sky over that country, waiting for clouds or smoke.
Birds have flown into it, too. Each evening more