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Rick Bursky's poems have appeared in many literary journals including American Poetry Review, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Review and Harvard Review. He works for the advertising agency DDB, and teaches at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. His first book, The Soup of Something Missing, is out from Bear Star Press.

The Separation

My father built a wall in the middle of the yard;
five feet high and seven feet long,
separating nothing there from nothing not there.
At night he whispered to the wall.
Mother didnąt care, "what a man whispers
in the shadow of his wall is his business alone."
Large flat stones, mortar, moonlight,
the damp quiet ­ father leaned against the wall
like a man waiting in an alley.

After he died mother closed her eyes
and placed her ear against the wall.
One side of the wall was love.
One side of the wall was longing.
Later she donated the wall to a church.
One side of the wall became sky.
One side of the wall became earth.
Mother never said what she heard
or if she heard anything at all.



After my dog was killed by a car
my parents gave me a baby sperm whale.
In a small wooden boat,
father on one oar, mother on the other,
we rowed past the swells.
The only sound was the oars' monotonous
work followed by the sigh
of the ocean pushed behind.

When it passed beneath
mother shouted "there, there"
and pointed at the large dark shape.
Father took photos with an old Instamatic.
On the way back to shore,
the only thing spoken
was by mother who asked
if I named it and I had.


Along with other primitive tools

early evidence of photography was found
in a Neanderthal-era cave in the Pyrenees Mountains.
The discovery was made public seventeen years
after the findings and were released
in an article written by Dr. Murray Wasloff
of the State University of New York at Buffalo.
The article went explained that the idea
of monastery was also created,
somewhere in that dark,
when a frightened man
cupped his hands like a cave
and into them blew warm breath.
There was no evidence to suggest
a successful exposure, this would come
tens of thousands of years later.

from The Myth of Photography


© 2005 Rick Bursky



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