Losing a Staring Contest

for Mira, at four

Sometimes when the steady
stream of her chatter dips
quietly underground
and all her galloping vim
returns to the trough of her body
to feed, I too become still,
tethered to the fixed brown
of her eyes, which, though the rest
of her seems keen to disown

the daily hand-me-downs
of itself, are already the size
they’ll be when she is grown,
and flaring in them I see,
as if projected on a wall
by the light of a match, the shadow
of the creature she will be
in time, when, with luck,
I’ll be old, but not gone—

and all the while, of course,
as if this were a game,
she’s staring back at me
with a gaze of her own, seeing
what? But here the field
of my vision bleaches to white,
as if I’d stared at the sun,
and my eyes shut, and I hear her
snort and gallop away.

Geoffrey Brock

Geoffrey Brock

Geoffrey Brock is the author of two volumes of poetry, the editor of The FSG Book of 20th-Century Italian Poetry, and the translator of numerous books of poetry and prose from Italian, most recently Last Dream by Giovanni Pascoli and Allegria by Giuseppe Ungaretti. He teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Translation at the University of Arkansas.
Geoffrey Brock

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Author: Geoffrey Brock

Geoffrey Brock is the author of two volumes of poetry, the editor of The FSG Book of 20th-Century Italian Poetry, and the translator of numerous books of poetry and prose from Italian, most recently Last Dream by Giovanni Pascoli and Allegria by Giuseppe Ungaretti. He teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Translation at the University of Arkansas.