Patrick Pritchett


In Sunderland the things of
Sunderland were found
then lost, broken
then mended, re-
broken, left unmended.
We had lived in Sunderland
so long we forgot the place.
The wide sweep of its dry flood plains.
The sheltering ridge of hills.
What is it to weep beside
an open window
and believe in the child who
believes in God?
No one knows what
the moon will do tonight
but the moon is hollow
and, when you take a hammer to it,
rings like a church bell
no one can hear.
To go into Sunderland
this time of year
is to go guarded against green
grass and memory, upthrust
stalks and haunted tobacco barns
a cool blue wind blowing
down from a cool blue sky.
I had gotten halfway to Sunderland
when I had to pause
by the side of the road.
I am not permitted to tell you why.
Only that, after a while, I pressed on.
Weeping the name Sunderland.
Blinded by the name Sunderland.


beautiful forms
rain down
from a world
devoid of longing
not lasting yet
they have
for grace
just this much
of an hour
that hereness
by which
I can touch
your face, your lips
rain graining
down its smooth
an inch
siphoned off
with a kiss.
this fawn
dies into
the long hands
of light.
It is noble
to be mortal
and wait
on fate.
The stoned
smokes his
joint watching over
our catastrophes.
He hums a tune
below hearing
I can’t catch
the meaning
but I know the melody.

Combustible Light

—For B. and H.

To take tea by the vase of daffodils and say:
“Let us live this way forever.”
To mean by a bowl of oranges and a small blue table
the entrance to another life.
To imagine it as a single letter.
That could hold the dust of this fading light.
These things make an entrance. They form the vowels
for red tiles, a glass of water, or the sun stringing its vine
from porch to window.
Abiding in the hum of freeway
the fragrance of wisteria and honeysuckle.
From the clamor of things
to make a blue letter for the day.
Shelter for the falling of our lives through this age.