Weighing Light

By Geoffrey Brock Geoffrey Brock
Often the slightest gesture is most telling,
As when he reaches tenderly in passing
To pluck the yellow leaf from the dark fall

Of her hair, or even the absence of all gesture:
The way she doesn’t need to turn to know
Who, in this gathering of friends, has touched her.

It was as if he dreamed some private garden.
Perhaps he woke from it, mid-reach, to find
His hand too near her hair in this crowded yard,

And maybe even now she’s shuttering in
(She’s even better than you or I at that)
A storm of worry and recrimination—

Did anyone notice? how could he do that here!—
By seamlessly continuing to tell you
About her trip to see her favorite Vermeer

This morning in the Delft show at the Met:
“So now they say she isn’t weighing pearls
Or gold or anything—it’s just the light

Gleaming off empty scales.” So much is hard
To know for sure. If I confronted her,
She’d say it was just a leaf—who could afford

To disagree? Could we? Now she’s explaining
How the girl faces a mirror we can’t see into
And how behind her hangs a gloomy painting

Of the Last Judgment: “Over her head God
Floats in a cloud,” she says, “like a thought balloon.”   
But you don’t hear. You’re watching me. I nod.

“Weighing Light” from Weighing Light by Geoffrey Brock, copyright © 2005 by Geoffrey Brock, by permission of Ivan R. Dee, Publisher.

Source: Weighing Light: Poems by Geoffrey Brock (Ivan R. Dee, 2005)

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Poet Geoffrey Brock

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Relationships, Love, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Geoffrey  Brock

Biography

Born in Atlanta, Geoffrey Brock received an MFA from the University of Florida and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Brock’s poetry has been featured in several anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2007. His first collection of poetry, Weighing Light (2005), won the New Criterion Poetry Prize.

Commenting on the resemblance of Brock’s poetry to Philip Larkin’s, critic David C. Ward noted that Brock “invests his . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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