A Poem by Ray Gonzalez

Ray Gonzalez

Ray Gonzalez

Ray Gonzalez is the author of fifteen books of poetry including Soul Over Lightning (University of Arizona Press, 2014) and the forthcoming Beautiful Wall (BOA Editions, 2015). Other books include The Hawk Temple at Tierra Grande (BOA, 2003 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry), and Turtle Pictures (Arizona, 2001 Minnesota Book Award). His work appeared in Best American Poetry 2014 (Scribners). A native of El Paso, he teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.


Caught in between the wrinkle
and the bellow of bulls dying in
the red dirt to turn the orchid in
the hand into the sweet poison
of a seashell’s heart—ways to go
deeper into the stone floor,

columns of birds dropping little
axes upon the syntactic structure
that rises to heaven in time to hide
the infinite line between hibernation
and the stairs of the craftsman who
destroys deities that are unable to beg

bread for him, each figure worshipped
before arrows trace towards the divine
that cannot be discussed because
the cool drink is an abstraction and
not the destination of every traitor
who rants about the wolves.