043.1: Zach Savich:: Portrait of My Death & Black-Eyed Lazy Susan & Inventory & Will 043

My mom has it somewhere in the house. Although, she may not. It was a long time ago. Just a memory of an image, really. It was a school project, very early, maybe first or second grade. I took a bunch of crayons, different colors, and scribbled on a piece of crate paper. Over that, I rubbed a layer of black crayon. Then, I scraped an image through the black crayon to reveal the underlying colors. First, I drew an apple, and then using this shape as an outline, turned the apple into a knight’s sallet, carving breathing holes and arabesque designs. I titled the piece “Sir Applelot.” The teacher thought I was clever. I was reminded of this piece when reading Zach Savich’s selection this week. There is no direct connection, only perhaps loosely as “Black-Eyed Lazy Susan” begins with a meditation on the verb “to apple.” Rather, I was reminded of the process of relief: carving out an image by revealing what is below, or more to the point, what something is not. Throughout the work, Savich does just this: scrapes away. As “Portrait of My Death” begins, it is “not the angle/ of hill but light,” and the poem continues to move through a series of negations, almost every line contains a “not” or a “but.” What something is not or how something is complete seems to be the driving engine for Savich’s work, and with this process, something curious happens – I am given so much, yet something is always obscured, something is below where I haven’t carved. As in “Inventory,” he begins, “A drug I should’ve taken…” and I ask, what drug? A sign commands to apply within – again, for what? Each line is like taking the pen knife to the covering foundation and, so, provides its own revelation, but always with that revelation there is the rest of the field, so much just below, toying and teasing. Nik De Dominic

Portrait of My Death

Not the angle
of hill but light
angled on it,
not the woman
but the angle of
a dress I came
across, sun-
lightened like each
felled leaf was
a flare up
the street or jump
rope handle broke
and left well
enough alone each
wave given woven
into the flushed
factual head count
I called a new
hotel they are building
at the end of town

Black-Eyed Lazy Susan


I am no longer surprised when something I dreamed happens because I have dreamed a lot by now.

To apple meaning to pick apples or to quarter something as one would an apple, or (appellation) to name.


Beauty we know is procedural as the heart itself is a procedure, as turning for the most beautiful at each intersection will not necessarily lead you to the most beautiful yet will lead you.

The streets here turn enough to turn you just go straight.

The river moves just enough to turn bodies in place.

I did not eat the fruit of the underworld but carried it a long way from there.


That year, two men carried a catch of grapes on a rod between them.

There is the need to look at eyes while also seeing landscape.

On his way to his beloved, one was led to a far pasture to see a donkey born.


Philosophy says the opposite of grass is not-grass rather than variously rock and cloud and ash and sea, as anyone knows with a pulse.

No matter how crowded with tourists the Pantheon is, it is always pretty much deserted from about six-foot-three up.


Clouds move too quickly to sketch.

I move my pen as they do, it is a kind of clock.

Unbearable: the griever’s clutch will not even rupture a tissue.


My job was to drive every street looking for holes in the coverage.

I traded my camera for binoculars.


Inset 1: A man appeared selling a melon in one hand a shoe in the other.

What he said would you really have bought two melons.


Inset 2: A woman grasps an apple, or her breast.


A drug I should’ve taken days ago. A way to say Jesus Christ or let my people go or send more stamps the way one says oh. A particularly American way of farmers dismantling a barn. A response to a magician did you say sawn in half or swan through. A plot of land where the house was removed with plants on it as large as the house was. A woman of standing at the end of a driveway pretending to hitchhike as her children hurry through the sweeping.

A house with nothing to eat but canned food but an expensive show dog/trampoline in the backyard/fishing gear. A kid who looks like he eats only green grapes out of sandwich bags. A threat of rain. A kid with toy shovel on the season’s last hump of snow. A kid hurrying after her sister on a bike. A hump of snow between two neighbors’ houses neither will ever shovel, a parking ticket on it. A rising star. A book of a thousand villanelles.

A storied pause. A cut-up. A man who knows my name and hands me a fax of a photograph. A set-back lawn. A farmer whose interpretation is the plough. A children’s game of inches. A canoe built specially for Indian Summer. A bat falling first from a birch so it can lift enough to fly. A sign commanding apply within. A woman holding her skirt down which makes us stare harder. A phase of the moon we have ruled out, because we can see it is waxing.


That even when memory didn’t work, took the bullet,
the body did, this wind like a personage in Dante
holding on my hat in wind like saluting, we actually
said we preferred the real moreso than the as real as’s
antecedents; these volleyballers on the beach like women
I tried to fuck, and that by all evidence together we
would as alone sit with books or eggs, or the list saying
only groceries we transplant to each calendar; hark,
the giant bird was a floating island was the barque Endeavour;
the surname is a recitation of what you’ve done.