Author’s Comments: This poem is about the notion that in the beginning was the word. Language is what gave meaning to humanity. The poem challenges that notion, asking us to contemplate the significance of attributing meaning to emotion, to experiences, to objects. The poem asks the reader to consider the cycle, the meaningless or perhaps the incredibly important meaning of language.
A Creature Lives In Every Poem
The first man was of the dust of the earth,
and the second man from heaven.
– 1 Corinthians 15:47
I know him by his writings I can
see the green meadow and shade
that stabs blind pierces into dark
forest outlines questions with the
care of a boy learning cursive It
takes shape slowly Quietly And
there are barely seconds before a
flood erases the riverbank Tints
this black ink beneath our bodies
recolors the blood coursing from
vein to holy waters reunites dust
with his eternally estranged child
But none of this exists Naturally
this is nonsense So he preserves
them as dreams Locked Cut up
Sometimes when he thinks there
is no one writing the dust weeps
sculpts caskets of different sizes
hoping one will fit But he prays
too long Loses vision Becomes
a monster to be pitied Someday
maybe these sentences will melt
and change themselves Baptize
eyes into mud Bring him home.
David H. Xiang is a poet and student of history and science at Harvard College. He serves on the poetry board at The Harvard Advocate, the oldest continuously published college art and literary magazine in the United States. He started writing poetry as a freshman in high school participating in the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop. In 2015, he was selected as a National Student Poet. First Lady Michelle Obama invited him to the White House to give his inaugural poetry reading.
Delmarva Review publishes the best of original poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction selected from thousands of submissions annually from authors in the region, across the United States, and beyond. The independent literary journal is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by individual contributions and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. Print and digital editions are available at Amazon and other major online bookstores. Website: DelmarvaReview.org.