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The Moment When Your Name is Pronounced

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This high up, the face
eroding; the red cedar slopes
over. An accident chooses a stranger.
Each rain unplugs roots
which thin out like a hand.
Above the river, heat
lightning flicks silently
and the sound holds, coiled in air.
Some nights you are here
dangling a Valpolicella bottle,
staring down at the flat water
that slides by with its mouth full of starlight.
It is always quiet
when we finish the wine.
While you were a living man
how many pictures were done
of you. Serious as an angel,
lacing up your boots. Ice
blows into my fields.


Forrest Gander, “The Moment When Your Name Is Pronounced” from Rush to the Lake (Cambridge, AliceJames Books, 1988). Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: Rush to the Lake (1988)
The Moment When Your Name is Pronounced

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