Don Colburn


Me neither. The very word
smacks of a room for memorizing
which Latin verbs take the dative.
No one told me it’s a vibe
right there in the eardrum beat
of all words, their stresses and strains
against the other ones nearby
and silences between.
You can hear it through a wall
or in Swahili, Malayalam, Czech,
any language you don’t speak.
But dactyl? Trochee? Anapest?
I lose them like the scientific names
of clouds—all part of the sky
when weather happens.
Put down the glossary and listen.
Let a pattern discover itself
unnamed. You might not notice
until it’s broken by surprise.

Don Colburn is a writer in Portland, Oregon. He worked for many years as a reporter for The Washington Post and The Oregonian and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. He has an MFA degree in creative writing from Warren Wilson College. His poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest and Virginia Quarterly Review and won the Discovery/The Nation Prize. He has published four collections of poetry, including three chapbooks. His full-length collection,  As If Gravity Were a Theory, won the Cider Press Review Book Award, and his first chapbook, Another Way to Begin, won the Finishing Line Press Poetry Prize. His writing honors also include residencies at The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, and three Pushcart Prize nominations.



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