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Published: Wed Oct 15 2003
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood
This Blue Vase

shows more than the morning clarities
of sun through leaves than through these windows.
Each thing is imbued by others. And staring
at the convex glass, I see the falls
in the one picture that held me enthralled
while you walked on through the gallery.

Even back then I must have felt
the photograph’s stark black and white
trapping the glow off tons of water
in its whole minute of exposure
one hundred years before we were born
as weirdly relevant: how barns
and long gone houses’ clapboard sides
above where shadowed cliff-face slid
vertiginously toward the falls
reflected all my naïve bewilderment
seeing what I’d thought permanent
turn so starkly half unreal.

But this morning, watching sunlight steal
across this table’s lacquered pine,
I still sense, through the smallest glints,
your presence still fusing all I see with you.
Blue irises from this vase’s blue.

See what's inside AGNI 58

Peter Campion is the author of three books of poetry, Other People (2005) and The Lions (2009), and El Dorado (2013), all from University of Chicago Press. He was the 2010 Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize Fellow in Literature at the American Academy in Rome, and he was also a 2011–12 Guggenheim Fellow. He directs the MFA program at the University of Minnesota. (updated 4/2016)

Campion’s Other People was reviewed in AGNI Online by Robert Pinsky.

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