Teacher in my mailbox (Ilya Kaminsky).

I went to San Diego State to study with Ilya Kaminsky, and I do not regret it one bit. Yesterday, the Academy of American Poets dropped off a new poem of his in my inbox. It made me glad and it made me miss school and I drank up the poem like a glass of fresh-pressed juice.

***

A Toast

 

To your voice, a mysterious virtue,

to the 53 bones of one foot, the four dimensions of breathing,

 

to pine, redwood, sworn-fern, peppermint,

to hyacinth and bluebell lily,

 

to the train conductor’s donkey on a rope,

to smells of lemons, a boy pissing splendidly against the trees.

 

Bless each thing on earth until it sickens,

until each ungovernable heart admits: “I confused myself

 

and yet I loved–and what I loved

I forgot, what I forgot brought glory to my travels,

 

to you I traveled as close as I dared, Lord.”

 

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