There was a knock and then there wasn’t.
There was a door and then there wasn’t.
There was a knock, a door….

I follow your footprints across the wet grass.
They lead to a river black as anthracite.
And a boat without oars.

Sleep is a desert that lets me return.
The saguaros raise their arms as in welcome.
Their roots stay buried, safe from touch.

There is a letter crumpled in the garden.
If it were an orchid, it would wither.
If a bird, fly away.

Goodbye I say to the wing in the woods.
Goodbye to the squandered word.
Yesterday, yesterday: hole inside a hole….

Simmerman was born in Boulder, Colorado, in 1952. He received his MFA in Poetry from University of Iowa in 1980. He was Regents Professor of English at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he led poetry writing workshops and served as an advisor to the literary journal Thin Air.

His poems have appeared widely in journals (Antæus, Georgia Review, North American Review, Ploughshares, Poetry), anthologies (The Bread Loaf Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, The POETRY Anthology 1912-2002, Pushcart Prize X: Best of the Small Presses), and textbooks (Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing; Thirteen Ways of Looking for a Poem: A Guide to Writing Poetry; Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry); and his poetry writing exercise “Twenty Little Poetry Projects” generated the anthology Mischief, Caprice, & Other Poetic Strategies (Red Hen Press, 2004), edited by Terry Wolverton.