Home > Poetry > Chipmunk
Brian Swann
Published: Tue Jul 1 2003
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood

If, as Kit Smart said, toads have compensation
_     _for being toads, “since there are stones whose
constituent particles are toads,” this particular
_     _Algonquian helps constitute a granite range
whose high inflections interweave. He flows
_     _between subject and object, neither and both.
He is, as the linguists say, non-configurational,
_     _and like the wind up there no one can tell
whence he came or where he goes. He’s all
_     _action, all tiny jerks whose frames overlap
so quick they almost look seamless, impulses
_     _received and renewed just about at the
same time and at the same fast speed but
_     _as if that is too slow and he could go faster
if he really tried. Impulse and impulse,
_     _each thought an impulse tried successfully
many times over. Try saying him.
_     _Try thinking him with no words.

Brian Swann has published many books in a number of genres: poetry, short fiction, children’s books, translation, and Native American studies, including Words in the Blood: On Translating Native American Literature (University of Nebraska Press, 2011) and his most recent poetry collection, _In Late Light (_Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). He lives in Manhattan and Vega, New York. (updated 10/2013)

Back to top