Three by Ezekiel Zutshi

Three by Ezekiel Zutshi



I have never done this

I have never called a place home.

I’m sorry, it’s all so new to me.

Tell me, have you ever seen the ocean drown the sand?

The crescent moon dissolved into the ink of night

to reveal the stars?

I’m sorry. That is all that I can show you:

a new moon

high tide

silver sliding into shadow.


Tonight, you and I are barefoot on that beach,

with sand between our toes; waves lick

the cuffs of your pants

—alright, I will try to tell you more:

There was a local boy who overdosed right there.

There was a raccoon who lived in that pipe.

At night I used to see old men casting lines over there

On the rocks, in the moonlight, in the waves.


I’m sorry. Forgive me. That’s all I can remember

of this place. 

I have no more stake in it than you do.


Can I ask you something?

Will you show me something here?

On the rocks

in the moonlight

in the waves



I have found a place of learning, where

even the cold white staircase

stretches up towards heaven

The sound of thunder does not shake

me from my perch beside an old, drafty window,

along a spiral

of marble litanies rooted in a dark cellar

where the congregation huddles in prayer

I do not know what heights of learning

are above me

Or who laid the bricks of this place

I have climbed no higher than here,

But I follow the footsteps of the luminaries:

Martin Luther King

Thich Nhat Han

Brother Cornel West

The sages leave a trail

On the other side of the window

a warbler—the only songbird left in New York’s winter

—ascends on silent wings


A New “Ode to Walt Whitman”

After Lorca


Oh Walt,

To think of you on this street 150 years ago

Carousing through Brooklyn

Which was farmland then, contiguous with our old Long Island

Taking a carriage here

—E 12th street, heading west

To the Hudson river where you will sleep

On the banks 

Resting your gray head on a giant oyster


Where is the duende on this street?

Under a mound of pylon strung with stars

—With lightning we have brought the stars to earth

In the shadow of a gray tower?

In the shadow where the lonely sleep together

In the shadow in the pile of blankets


Where is the soul of your land, a land changing, a land changed?

Where do you sleep now?

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