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Two poems by Nicholas Laughlin

First published in Boston Review, April/May 2002

what first unfurled

what first unfurled flies out, a lisp
so slips from the fold of “first”; it will fresh
what follows, “follow” left to flow
its own; so rolls the flood behind,
“full” that flows, its undertow
lies out in wait; the word, “later,”
will wait; later “wait” will, word,
on a breath float furling in to rest

the rest: clean is the feel of it, fielded;
“clean,” at last flown down, afield,
but now wound down in, the winding, wind,
“wing” winged down, silent
but for gust of the gasp, the wisp of whisper
long does the last breath last,
só long for the hint of it, kiss of it,
“kiss” is a hint of the last of it, only
the left of it; what, left, lingers:

linger, “last”

• • •

not (as though, at last

not (as though, at last, not drunk, but glad
enough to sing a darting throatful glee,
or say, “High birds perform fine surgeries
aloft”; or soft, as light that lost its way
along the way, or words that, silent, take
their place in silence; even rich and sad
the final flurry, now with sighing met,
a little hope, a little rashness) yet

• • •

Read more poems by Nicholas Laughlin