NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD

Christina Hutchins


I Met a Silence


and in the silence a poem

I still needed the I

but the I was soaring away

a small lilt of unchecked

sorrow    I tried to shortcut


down the slope between

two roads    Steep    untrod

except by mice    by snakes

by beetles and ants    there on

a small plateau of deer path


was a dead songbird gone

charcoal black    its eye

a hole    its beak open

its black wing half-folded

and going transparent


Shrunken toward earth

the eyeless thing both

decaying and preserved

was trammeled by the delicate

mesh of late summer


stems    In the bird

hollowed out and flattened

was a silence and in that silence

the song-rapt days

kept alive by a heart


going to dust    To release

what is human    the making

takes up socket and ravished

wing and audibly beats

their irrevocable dispersal


To deny the poem would

kill the bird twice—

to kill the bird again

would kill the I who departs

as if from within—


Christina Hutchins teaches philosophy and poetry to graduate students at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. Her poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies. She is the author of two chapbooks, Collecting Light, Acacia Books, 1999, and Radiantly We Inhabit the Air, Seven Kitchens Press, 2011, which won a Robin Becker Prize. Her literary awards include the Missouri Review Editors' Prize, the National Poetry Review Finch Prize, a James D. Phelan Literary Award, and two Barbara Deming Poetry Awards. She lives in Albany, California, where she serves as the city's first poet laureate. "I Met a Silence" is from her new book, The Stranger Dissolves, to be published April 2, 2011.


Christina Hutchins will be reading from her new book in Northern California: April 1 at Mrs. Dalloway's Literary & Garden Arts, Berkeley; April 16 at Book Passage in Corte Madera; April 19 at Reader's Books, Sonoma; May 14 at Copperfield's Books, Petaluma; June 14 at Albany Library; and August 9 at The Barkin' Dog Grill, Modesto. See Calendar for details.

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