Friday, November 18, 2011

They Will Take My Island

by Nick Thran

I love a plow more than anything else on a farm.
       —Arshile Gorky

Say in the painting, soldiers storm the field,
cradling their mothers’ sex
under their arms like gourds.
Say Freud, trying to flee the scene,

trips over the still hot coals
in Picasso’s Guernica,
and reignites an age’s fires.
Then Gorky’s mother’s limbs

do start to look like his.
And then his mother’s name
does start to sound the same as his
when it’s called out over the trembling field

for however long one person’s death can last,
which, including blockades in the aftermath,
is far too long a time. Say all of that’s there
for a while in the painting, and then

it isn’t there. And being certain that
it was conceived on Crooked Run Farm
in Virginia, some thirty years on—
say that I love the name of the farm

more than anything else on the farm;
that I’d bring that up to make this mine.