Black Wing 

To have each understanding
of the river represented
By starry night,
the thing by itself. 

To have a time when
the black glasses sit
so silently in the midnight
sun the mind may as  

well turn away from
them as well to
them. To have the absolute
question in mind, to see 

it brush by like, like
with all its insistence,
like the bird on the black
wing, black glass. 

To have each thing
understood by the
understanding sun which
rises. To rise in 

the careful memory, no…
to represent nothing by
the memory and nothing
from it. 

Related imageMichael Burkard is the author of lucky coat anywhere (Nightboat Books, 2011); Envelope of Night: Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1966–1990 (Nightboat Books, 2008); and Unsleeping (Sarabande Books, 2001), among others. He is the recipient of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award and the Whiting Writers’ Award, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Foundation for the Arts. He teaches at Syracuse University.