Michael Bazzett is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently The Echo Chamber, (Milkweed, 2021). A recipient of awards from the Frost Place and the NEA, his poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Threepenny Review, The Sun, The Nation, and Granta. His verse translation of the Mayan creation epic, The Popol Vuh, (Milkweed, 2018) was named one of 2018’s best books of poetry by the NY Times. Find out more at www.michaelbazzett.com.
from The Book of Unknown Facts
Because it occurs at subsonic levels outside the range of human hearing,
it’s a little-known fact that the full moon howls.
After a cloudburst in summer, the ground is riddled with puddles.
When a poet drinks a cup of coffee, an angel falls asleep.
The very moment the moon becomes full, it begins.
We might describe the sound as otherworldly if we could hear it.
These puddles paradoxically offer us windows into the sky.
This is not a form of equilibrium.
The groaning does not register in our ears. It merely moves as waves
through the water of our bodies, rippling our cells like lily-pads.
In this moment, an observer who looks down can see
up, and thus discover the something
that is not there and the something that is.
This occurs so that the angel can dream white roots into the dark soil
of the coffee grounds. These grow like fine hairs until the seed splits open.
Choirs of insomniacs attest to this silence, which they sometimes compare
to what hovers above a pond after the plop! of a bullfrog.
When a rain puddle holds the reflection of the cloud from which it came,
the cloud can briefly see itself through the eyes of its child.
A shoot then pushes its way to the surface. If transplanted, it grows
into a tree and in seven years it bears fruit, most of which comes
thudding down in the rains of October.
Yet wolves can hear it.
When the puddles dry up, so too does this avenue of self-knowledge,
leaving a blind-spot on the ground.
The fruit lies in the grass, bruised and uneaten.
When deer come to eat the windfall, the fruit is transmuted
into bodies capable of astonishing leaps.
So a wolf howls at the moon
offering both a reply and a kind of translation
and thus becomes a poem.
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