What’s Left Behind / michael bazzett

I used to work on rock, breaking
chips from its face, figures pushed
their way out like dogs from rivers,

shivering off the excess in a white spray:
the work was hard, I made deep marks,
and what emerged was fixed and done

but couldn’t show how sun broke
through the lattice as I carved,
how dust rose in that armature of light,

how I meant to live a life of mild grace.
So I went to where granite land
slanted into green water, where

ocean hurled its froth against the rocks.
I took a silvered stick and traced
sand, outlining the curves, feeling

the scrape through the hinges of my arm
until water came to smooth the lines away.
Then I let the stick go and watched gulls

kite the gusts, their linen flaps skimming
the waves, their cries, broken shells, their beaks
creasing the green hills but leaving no mark.


Michael Bazzett’s poems have appeared in West Branch, Green Mountains Review, Best New Poets, Bateau, The National Poetry Review, and Rattle.  He was the winner of the 2008 Bechtel Prize from Teachers & Writers Collaborative, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He divides his time between San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Minneapolis, where he lives with his wife and two children.