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Wave Trough

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Sets the folds in alignment;
this a shallow, a constitution of drops
that moves to displace itself
and unconsciously reverts
to image.

In such a state,
the wave has become a setting—
a table across which cups
with propositions rolled inside them
are passed.

The passage of cups does not limit
the range of potential outcomes,
and yet at no point does the wave
dissolve into abstraction.

The shades
are drawn and we are
overwhelmed by flags
crossing the black divan.

An axis of rotation,
gliding a fraction of an inch
and yet unveiling its total mass.

Advancing, the disc of its body
shimmers. Alighting on the sand,
it reveals itself in a cluster of pulses.

Dilated, it lifts from the sea floor:
fine spokes radiating on a wheel.
It passes between bands of bright
water, a kiss or a plow.

Robert Fernandez, “Wave Trough” from We Are Pharaoh. Copyright © 2011 by Robert Fernandez. Reprinted by permission of Canarium Books.
Source: We Are Pharoah (Canarium Books, 2011)
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Wave Trough

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  • Poet and editor Robert Fernandez was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and grew up in Miami. He earned an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the author of the collections We Are Pharaoh (2011), Pink Reef (2013), and Scarecrow (Wesleyan University Press, 2016). He is also the co-translator, with Blake Bronson-Bartlett, of Azure (2015), a translation of the work of Stéphane Mallarmé. In poems that take on ancient Egypt, the legacy of surrealism, and the news cycle, Fernandez follows the path of heat and light through both body and empire. In an interview with the literary journal THERMOS, Fernandez stated, “[I]n my work I consistently find myself trying to establish the conditions under which something like a struggle might emerge. Struggle is of interest to me in that, if it takes, it appears endless, ongoing, alive, and that it asks that the work submit to its own design and pursue its own values.”

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