Sati Mookherjee
February 1, 2023

Runner-up, 2023 Northwest Review Poetry Prize

  • Three arguments against syncretism:
    1. Fish can’t mate with flower
    1. Moon is not sun
    1. Without a first One, all = none
  • Three arguments for syncretism:

  • The wood is writ with burl and lichen scrawl,
  • blooms of fungus. Cat’s paws markings just offshore,
  • frigid water boiling at the convergences. Sun-simmered
  • forest releases its fragrances. Salted butter here,
  • there licorice. I digress. Does God digress? Unspool
  • theme … and theme … or variation?

  • The voices on the boat are muted at the dock,
  • even in such proximity, but heard clearly
  • on the hilltop, its ridgeline the threaded lip
  • of a bowl of light. Contrivance and capitulation,
  • self-portrait as Janus face. Because I thought I heard
  • the grasshopper sing in meter of three claps
  • and one wave beat, thought I heard flam and ruff
  • on goatskin in the tide slapping the flank of the skiff.
  • Because we bow to Conscience. Because you are not one
  • of my own if you leave your neighbor unfed. The wind pads
  • across the sea, pulling the draping current off
  • to show the skeg-scraping saddle of rock.