By T. Zachary Cotler b. 1981
On a brain-gray day,
                                      he lay on the hill-slanted solar
array with a southern exposure,
toes in the clover
                                mixed in with what are these
pentagrammatic sprays
of pinnate leaves.
                                No clover
here has four leaves:
to each one he says
I have seen you before
                                          in the nuclear hazard
symbol and then again (as
again slants backward)
before that, as nothing but clover
                                                             when childhood was not yet over
and everything was symbol therefore
nothing was.

Source: Poetry (November 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the November 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2011
 T. Zachary Cotler


Theodore Zachary Cotler was born in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1981 and raised in Marin County, California. Cotler earned a BA in English from Cornell University in 2003 and an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2008.

Cotler is the author of a novel, Ghost at the Loom (2014), a critical monograph, Elegies for Humanism (2014), and two books of poetry, Sonnets to the Humans (2013) and House with a Dark Sky Roof (2011). . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Coming of Age

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.