Forrest Gander is the author of numerous books of poems, essays, and translations including Eye Against Eye (poems, New Directions, 2005) and Faithful Existence: Reading, Memory, & Transcendence (essays, Shoemaker & Hoard, 2005).  His recent translations include No Shelter: Selected Poems of Pura López Colomé, and, with Kent Johnson, Immanent Visitor: The Selected Poems of Jaime Saenz, a PEN Translation Award Finalist. Gander has written critical essays for numerous journals, including The Nation, The Boston Review, and The Providence Journal.  He is Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University.

Forrest Gander's Web site

Ligature 5 by Forrest Gander


It’s not an insult to refuse to drain the glass, she tells me
And a fly crawls from the bowl of sauza picante.

Would you choose to bury the organs with the child?
And he retreats to his room and closes the door.

Here, birds in the zocalo whiz and tweet like children’s toys
And there, a charred corpse hanging from the bridge.

From the seat behind, he pokes her head with a plastic fork
And getting no response, tests it on his own head.

Would you turn the damn wipers off, the attendant asks
And the odor of manure and wet hay hits us.

A kind of mystery gloms to those who have suffered deeply
And thank you Mr. and Mrs. Radiance.

It sounded like the chimmuck of a rock dropped into a stream
And the piston-driven breathing of sex.

The couple at the bus station—when had we kissed like that?
And Nice evening—Yes it is—A bit skunky—That’s for sure.

Terrorist and victim circling the last chair as the music stops
And the valves of their mouths snapping open and shut.

When I rise out of myself into occasion, I said
And when do you rise out of yourself into occasion, she asked.

Late enough to count maple loopers and geometrids at the window
And the boy will be coming up the porch steps when he comes.

The long row of treadmills choiring
And above them, televisions replay the disaster.