#tbt: Peter Gizzi, “The ethics of dust”

This week’s TBT selection is Peter Gizzi’s “The Ethics of Dust” from Some Values of Landscape and Weather (2003). You can find a review of Peter’s latest book, In Defense of Nothing, in the July/August issue of Boston Review.


gizzi TBT


The ethics of dust

to think I have written this poem before
to think to say the reason I came here
sound of yard bird, clinking lightbulb

to think the world has lasted this long

what were we hoping to say:
ailanthus, rosebud, gable
saturnalia, moonglow, remember

I am on the other side now
have crossed the river, have
through much difficulty
come to you from a dormer closet
head full of dark
my voice in what you say

at this moment you say
wind through stone, through teeth
through falling sheets, flapping geese

 every thing is poetry here

a vast blank fronting the eyes
more sparkling than sun on brick
October’s crossing-guard orange



PETER GIZZI is the author of Threshold Songs, The OuternationaleSome Values of Landscape and WeatherArtificial Heart, Periplumand In Defense of Nothing. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.