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Edgar Gabriel Silex

About the Poet

Edgar Gabriel Silex is the author of two poetry collections from Northwestern University Press (formerly Curbstone Press), Through All the Displacements and Acts of Love, as well as a chapbook, Even the Dead Have Memories, from New Sins Press.

His first book was nominated for the National Book Award. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Maryland State Arts Council. He lives in Laurel, Maryland.


Spring 2015 Poems ~
The Bird Bath

when I first carved the birdbath
from a huge tear-shaped stone
I found in the New Hampshire woods

I thought it must have split in half
the night before I stumbled upon it
like a ripe pink granite egg or fruit

the world had hatched into two
perfect tears I tried taking them both
but one was too heavy for me

to carry the fifty feet to my car
and so I left it there where it fell
out of the igneous soul of earth

and when I got the other home
and tore into that pink bespeckled flesh
chiseling out the biotite and feldspar

with eight pound hammers I carved
a shallow tear-shaped bowl for rain
to fill and didn't give one thought

to that act of making some thing
out of the flesh of tears you found
while walking in the woods alone


the granite birdbath
I carved reminds me anger
can make lasting things


I didn't know how
much I loved birds when I carved
the granite birdbath


this tear-shaped granite
birdbath fills with rainwater
that cleanses feathers


one-by-one the birds
take turns a robin waits for
the finch to finish


you learn to hit things
hard and not break or shatter
your spirit carving


how long will it out-
last me this birdbath I carved
a lifetime ago


as long as there’s storm
no man need fill it or watch
birds bathing in it


on the surface floats
a feather that's forever
falling through the sky




there is a mending taking place by being
by letting time wash and distance forget

what once was most or later half a life
becomes a few years a few people a passage

I no longer dwell in ephemeral houses
of pain or edifices of meaning or memory

but when I build a child’s swing in spring
when I’m turning soil or growing fruit

when I sit at peace you’re already there
when I think of nothing you are already

wandering among the light and shadows
presencing and not to say I’m thinking

of you but when I’m being me this
taking care you are where I’m arriving

the way your letters arrive twice each year
and I don’t open them because you’re here

already where I’ll never love you more
than forgetting where I preserve our dwelling



Edgar Gabriel Silex ~


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