Nate Pritts Poems




(letter to her, beginning with her)



Maybe you're holding onto something

invisible & have learned to call it

by its secretest name, & maybe

there's an arithmetic of emptiness

that defines the quiet space

in your cupped palm as waiting

instead of vacated.  I see a bird

pass overhead, bursting & frantic

in a peaceful glide, & I think travel,

I think rootless.  I see a tree, leaves

scattered in fragmented green up & down

the thin branches & I think sunlight,

I think there are so many goddamn pieces

to this imperfect structure.  I think

how can there be a thing without

a think to think it, or a thought without

a thing to anchor it.  I think what if

I stand under that tree & shout.

Will the bird flinch in its arc

& will my hands be open & ready

or are they weighed down with loss?





(letter to her with map, terror & excitement)


Rain echoes through the hollow of this

late afternoon light & the shadow

of my hand drags across the Great Lakes,

across states, & it shakes, & O how inexplicable.

I said love when I know I meant predisposition.

I meant empty rooms, sun cascading

through slats after rain, that life I can easily

imagine & want.  I meant there is no way

to express the complex architecture of

what you are to me - the you you are in words,

the body of you, the you I don't even know.

I know what I hope for.  This afternoon

brightness, this blinding flood, this thing

we've built up, this heaviness masquerading

as lightness & I just don't know

what to say.  I can see you standing there,

can almost hear your voice.  I can see the sun

& it's setting & there are the two of us facing

each other, people made out of words with

real bodies, standing together & breathing.





Nate Pritts is the author of four full-length books of poems, most recently

Big Bright Sun (BlazeVOX, 2010) and The Wonderfull Yeare (Cooper Dillon Books,

2010).  He is the founder & principal editor of H_NGM_N & H_NGM_N BKS.  Find him online at



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