Jody Bolz

How the Past Appeared

Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
The Sonnet Issue

How the Past Appeared

It wasn’t the wall itself or its setting
on a cliff—not its width or color,

though the wall did flare above the path
where I walked an hour before dark,

so that I had to stop and look,
blindsided by a blazing shape,

its windows lacy flames within a wider fire,
radiance I recognized on sight:

not the building itself but the way
that light outshone the present moment,

making it unreal, and myself within it
a figure in eclipse, the urgent past—

invisible how long?—
burning above me, and gone.


Poem reprinted from The Manhattan Review with the author’s permission.



Jody Bolz is the author of Shadow Play (Turning Point Books, 2013), and A Lesson in Narrative Time (Gihon Books, 2004) and has been executive editor of Poet Lore since 2002. Her poems have appeared in Indiana Review, North American Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner and Poetry East. To read more by this author: Museum Issue, Wartime Issue, Five Poems, Volume 4:1, Winter 2003.