Poem #8 by Rick Hilles


November rains, then robin eggshell sky.

The last orange monarch of the season glides by

The sun-blistered rooftop chair where I write.

Last night, only the tapers wavered. Our fingers

Settled on the willowware then skated blindly

On the glow-in-the-dark board, echo-locating

A message spelled-out by, if not with, our hands.

“My generation was devoured by History.”


That two-decade-long window between the wars.

Poland’s first self-rule in a century and a half.

Think of a boy listening to opera in Warsaw.

The aria hides somewhere the boy can’t go.

The aria escapes the ruins of crematoria.

The aria conjures the lost boy now in you.

Section #8 of “Nights and Days of 2007: Autumn” is from A Map of the Lost World by Rick Hilles, © 2012. Reprinted and used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. Hilles is an assistant professor of English. His work has appeared in Harper’s, Ploughshares, Poetry, The Nation and The New Republic.

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