Karl Kirchwey directs the Creative Writing Program at Boston University. His poem in this issue is from his new collection, Stumbling Blocks: Roman Poems. (July 2015)

Fiumicino, Morning

Effortlessly the buzzard strokes            the midway air,            each wingtip’s splayed feather            darkly visible where, above the concrete apron and the parched earth            splashed with poppies            and those flowers known as            the eyebrows of Zeus, it tilts and rides the thermals, above the runway’s game-board            shapes of the geometer,            cone and …

Aeaea

At that hour when the onshore breeze                                        drove the waves of panting crystal onward over the ribbed sand,                                        tugging their shadows beneath them toward the pastel hotel,                                        and the light-shot shallows were marbled with the first premonitions of autumn,                                        I said to the …

River of Rivers

And if it rose at last, the river of rivers, from where it sweeps between its walls of original green to inundate the mansion of the retail millionaire or the clever princeling of the stripped paperback, would it carry off …

U.S. Route 20

Past Kinderhook, where she swam as a child, shadowed now and overhung with branches, so that it is invisible from the road, ahead of you, an August cloudscape is massing in ramparts over Lebanon Valley and the mountain Shakers called “the back side …

Posillipo

for Shirley Hazzard Vedius Pollio’s summer dining room: reserved for the elite, and frescoed over in interwoven shades of grove and sky. Imagine a single lozenge of lapis lazuli sixty feet on a side, a sea-blue gem, soothing, even in August, to the mind of …

K. 453

On May 27, 1784,    as he followed Vienna’s back streets home, Mozart paused, startled, by a pet shop door    and listened to the allegretto theme from his own piano concerto in G-Major    repeated by a starling in a cage. He’d written it only …