All Art Is Betrayal

by Sam Rasnake

Like the hot air balloon with its brief

and staggered flight before falling

to the ground in such a deadly heap.


Horse hooves pounding the river's

smoky shallows, each furtive blast

a world of probability against plague.


Wild geese over the city's rape to ruin

in the silent rage that only distance gives.

Or naked bodies, their torches lit, in a run


through a thick wood of midsummer mist,

while the nightingale's song, much older

than time, unfolds its deepest pleasure.


Vows to silence, then an ache for the real,

for the impenetrable cold that defies the hand,

for the impossible gift of a restless spring.

                  — originally published in Poets / Artists, and reprinted in Cinéma Vérité (A-Minor Press, 2013)