Spring 2017, Volume 22

Poetry by Robert Lietz

Long Exposures

                                                         Long Exposures

      Idling — a mile maybe, or ten — for all you know
of desert nights and night traffic,
and waiting so long, in all that emptiness, the men slip out,
into the star-pricked dark and desert chill
you too will soon be squinting through, about as far
as fear or adventure lets you see,
with the lights turned out, tripods, imaginations occupied
by long exposures, expecting
what, you guess, alive in a dark alive with revelations,
if only the cacti, it could be,
or the odd creatures vanishing, holding that space and pose
so that they seem cooperative,
agreeable to capture, and a picture or two, three, four
proves possible, until the lights ahead
come up, from miles somewhere, and a collision, you think,
is being absorbed by history,
like a signature the southwest night shuts deeply
in its guestbook, remarkably
or no, bestowed on this canvas peopled again
by spooks and presences,
and all of it undecided yet, revealed,
you said,
by another morning's


      I remember that today, watching this chipmunk
sampling a cherry tomato
on the deck-bench, to fathom, I think, its glow, accenting
mid-fifties grey,
as if to figure his yeoman's role in its arousal, and
in these greener spheres,
waiting to ripen in tight clusters.  How you must try, yourself,
the night scenes
a sensor registered!  But what can I say to that, the dark
like a series
of unexpected callings, except what the artist said,
having watched apart
and prepped the work for editors, while shapes
in the night assumed
their accustomed size and discipline, such
as the sounds around
implied, and the conversations
the deeper dark




BIO: Robert Lietz's poems have appeared in more than one hundred journals, including Agni Review, Antioch Review, Carolina Quarterly, The Colorado Review, Epoch, The Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, The Missouri Review, The North American Review, The Ontario Review, Poetry, and Shenandoah. Eight collections of poems have been published, including Running in Place, At Park and East Division, The Lindbergh Half-century (L’Epervier Press,) The Inheritance (Sandhills Press,) and Storm Service and After Business in the West: New and Selected Poems (Basal Books.) Besides the print publications poems have appeared in several webzines.