How can the world which is
mostly stunned by you not be
stunned by you in every way?
The answer is it is, but it is
as shy the world as the boy is
who can only show his love
by knocking you down in the playground.
Which only explains how it is
you have been knocked down
so many times in your stunning life.
Tongue-tied boy world running
after you, inarticulate man world
mumbling its misplaced praises.
All praises are misplaced and needless.
Meanwhile stunning you go about
in more ways stunning than ever,
unaware how stunning your stunningness is.
Manifold the perplexities of this life.
Skin, for instance, the pirouettes
of intelligence, the lie detector your eye is.
Even the messed-up thumb knuckle
of your right hand—breathtaking.
The hamstring tendons back of the knees.
Eloquence, bravery. The tendency
to throw whomever you’re with
between you and a snarling dog.
This too is known to be stunning.
Apotheosis of lips, syllables therefrom.
World says, there I am in you. World says
you are the world that stuns the world.
The blue eyes that chasten its skies.
And the brown-eyed boys dying
for the lack of you, one dog,
another dog, one stunned after another,
believing they are the word for the world,
stunned that it is, like them, never true.
ROBERT WRIGLEY has published twelve books of poems, most recently Box (Penguin). He lives in the woods of northern Idaho with his wife, the writer Kim Barnes.