The 2River View 17.4 (Summer 2013)

Dave Nielsen

Poem About a Deaf Woman

Imagine the lid of the piano
slammed shut,           
or a glass chucked
against the wall—

Imagine all
that the animal hears—
dog, bear.
Think of the sound

of the road
from the pasture’s
far corner—
or of a lover’s breathing,

beside you in the dark.
And don’t forget
in the elevator,

the talk that isn’t yours.
No music to comfort,
yet no wind;
look out the window and see:

so many trees
like people
dancing to their headphones.
She can’t hear

the pipes ticking
or the rain,
yet each moment is pounding,
wave after wave

softer than a tiptoe.

Riddle at the Beginning of Time

No prophets yet.
Still, so much to be foretold.
Even God is a little uncertain.

Stones have yet to decide
upon silence,

and men gather
at the water contemplating
the world’s first ship.

Of course there is a fat baby,
at its mother’s pink
nipple—the world’s first breakfast.

Does it feel early?
A fish jumps:
the world’s first circle.

In the forest a wood cutter leans
into his very first chop:
something like philosophy,

something like bells
coming over the treetops.

What a moment!
A poet grows introspective
in the middle of a crossing.

Dave Nielsen studied English at Brigham Young University and is currently a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Parnassus, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and other magazines. contact