Hommage à Bonnefoy

It is winter. Outside, the hills
are covered in moonlight
against frost. In a cold room
a man shuffles cards
in half darkness.

On one of the cards is written:
“this world is not ours.”
and on another:
“your hands hold a labyrinth
of wind.”

Somewhere in the scratched darkness
the broken voice of an owl
goes out across the river:
shadowed casings of something unanswered
above the eddied currents of light.

But if that man could only
crouch down near the bank
and read the changing reflections,
or know the strains of loss in that voice
that echoes through sparse branches

then he could bring himself to deal
that impossible third card, to read
the total silence of its blank face
like an owl sliding over snowfields
in the luminous frigid sun.

W.F. Lantry received his Licence and Maîtrise from the Université de Nice, M.A. in English from Boston University and Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Major Jackson selected his work for the CutBank 2010 Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, and the UMB William Joiner Center named him a runner-up for this year’s Ellen LaForge Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, Prairie Fire, Ellipsis, Unsplendid, Verse Wisconsin and The Wallace Stevens Journal, among others. He currently serves as the Director of Academic Technology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.