Dear Alice: thank you for the blank note—it was the clearest thing I saw today. Where does that door lead to? At times, it seems control is merely the ability to choose—a fire floating at the sky’s worn edge. “What happens in Emerald City stays in Emerald City”—so my friend Ian tells me. White-tailed deer surround us, yet we rarely encounter them up close—such observation requires one to be an autodidact. Counted seventeen stars this afternoon. All in ten and a half minutes. Did I mention the morning we found footprints leading to our front door without stepping away from it? It had snowed overnight—the prints led up the walk and over the threshold. We examined all of our shoes and none of them matched the guest’s. The dog is begging to be fed, walking from room to room, sweetly. A god’s talons are trailing blood down the branches of a platinum yew, yet Ezra Pound refuses to acknowledge it. My heart has always been a problem.

Hunting the words all morning, I look up in time to see the rain stop falling. These are the terms: an alarm at daybreak, warm tea in the belly, and an attention tuned to the spatial depths between clouds. When the archive mutates into a labyrinth, enjoy yourself. My occupations: moonlight, bread crumbs, memories of strings cutting my fingers, your hiccupping laughter, the pine-dark orchestrations of late summer storm fronts. Does smiling at a crude statement implicate you? Eating the soul of a bird: years of wind, harvests of nothing but dust, then a glowing eye that lasts one night, expands into a person by morning. They watched the black dog run after them from the camp, both disappearing as they gained speed. Slow down and look at yourself—you wish only to dice a green apple but the blade in your hand threatens a million ideas at once and now you see the sun is going down, taking all of the day’s murders with it. The path climbs from here and does not double back—a bridge, then a dogleg, and then: home.


F. Daniel Rzicznek’s collections and chapbooks of poetry include Vine River Hermitage (Cooper Dillon Books 2011), Divination Machine (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press 2009), Neck of the World (Utah State University Press 2007), and Cloud Tablets (Kent State University Press 2006). His individual poems have appeared in Boston Review, The New Republic, Orion, Mississippi Review, Hotel Amerika, Shenandoah, and Notre Dame Review. Also coeditor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice (Rose Metal Press 2010), Rzicznek teaches writing at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.