Etruscans at Monterchi

After centuries, still the sifting
of afternoon, the homing swallows
circling, shape-shifting,
immersed in what they sense,

and still this moment,
my shadow on the ground, I’m watching
what has never changed,
what seem random curves of flight,

yet their fixed points we’ll never see
above the olive grove, each skull aloft
ever since swallows first
emerged in Tuscany, and nearly always

there has been a moment waiting:
its creature watching shadows rise
from earth – and around me
crickets begin their chants overlapping.

James Brasfield

James Brasfield

James Brasfield is the author of Infinite Altars and Ledger of Crossroads, and Cove, expected in 2022, from LSU Press. Twice a Senior Fulbright Fellow to Ukraine, he received fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and is a recipient of the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. He lives in Belfast, Maine.
James Brasfield

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Author: James Brasfield

James Brasfield is the author of Infinite Altars and Ledger of Crossroads, and Cove, expected in 2022, from LSU Press. Twice a Senior Fulbright Fellow to Ukraine, he received fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and is a recipient of the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. He lives in Belfast, Maine.