REBECCA FOUST eat first / poetry later

– after W.S. Merwin’s Asian Figures


cake in both hands           what’s next

skin in the morning            bone by nightfall

eat first            before death collects

all the tongues           autumn comes with deer

like hopeless lovers           then rides down on one leaf

the world turns through partings           and love

meets itself coming back           a tailor dies with the end

of his thread in his           mouth but the mouth

wants cake           if it’s good           hurry           

one inch ahead           the whole world is dark



Rebecca Foust is the Poet Laureate of Marin County and author of the books Paradise Drive; All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song; and God, Seed: Poetry & Art About the Natural World; as well as the chapbooks Dark Card and Mom’s Canoe.