Five Landscapes

Diana Khoi Nguyen

after Cole Swenson


New and native music moves through trees and grows
newer as it fades, deepening in the shade of firs; even
in summer these greens are blue
ascendant, woodwinds in the wake of.

At the critical edge: white whooper, white cirrus
blue needle, blue sky.


There is a sequence of yoked yellow out loud
against the bridge, and stone rough
from river tides. Lichen,

in powder or entire, is inseparable
from where it grows;
slow growing, it could be something else

doing as it pleases. Cracked paint, brocade, the paraphernalia of flowers, or organs,
suicide absent from opera motif.


The body is half water. A vast hull of halls. To fill in what is missing
eight hundred forty times in a row
it would be advisable
to prepare oneself beforehand
by cutting oneself
off, by cutting oneself out;
immobile desert
open before a deepening gorge where someone has hung a bright life vest
out on a line to dry.


A cyclist clad in black on a forest highway is a danger to herself. Blends in. Burns.
Glints with the glinting road. Like how it’s dangerous to pause too long
at a driveway
where a body in white hangs from rope beneath a sign that reads, We do it
the old way,
how we’ve been told
to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, though she puts herself into the whole
dummy suit, gusts of wind swaying the body, this cyclist wobbling on her bike.


The mountain across the plains is hazy from the fires burning through green
and beetle-kill alike, clouds shaped like geese stretching out against
the blazing sunset. A streetlamp’s glow flickers off. Nowhere, absent,