A Small Story about the Sky

A Small Story about the Sky

by Alberto Ríos

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Overview

"Rios evokes the mysterious and unexpected forces that dwell inside the familiar."—The Washington Post

"Ríos delivers another stunning book of poems, rich in impeccable metaphors, that revel in the ordinariness of morning coffee and the crackle of thunderous desert storms. In one sonnet, Ríos addresses injustice in the borderlands, capturing with mathematical precision the everyday struggles that many migrants face—'The border is an equation in search of an equals sign.' A series of sonnets about desert flora abounds with fantastic, magical imagery—'Bougainvilleas do not bloom—they bleed' and 'Apricots are eggs laid in trees by invisible golden hens.' Likewise, Ríos's bestiary sonnets overflow with inimitable similes, worthy of a book unto themselves—'Minnows are where a river’s leg has fallen asleep' and 'Gnats are sneezes still flying around.' This robust volume is the perfect place to start for readers new to Ríos and a prize for seasoned fans."—Booklist

In his thirteenth book, Alberto Rios casts an intense desert light on the rich stories unfolding along the Mexico-US border. Peppered with Spanish and touches of magical realism, ordinary life and its simple props—morning showers, spilled birdseed, winter lemons—becomes an exploration of mortality and humanity, and the many possibilities of how lives might yet be lived.

Mad Honey

Made from magnificent rhododendron, poisonous rhododendron,
Very difficult-to-pronounce rhododendron—whatever

Rhododendron even is—I would have to look it up myself,
This word sounding puffed up, peacocky with its

Indianapolisly-long spelling, all those letters moving in and out.
But the plant itself, the plant and the bees that find it:

The bees see in its purple flower, first, a purple flower.
They do not spell it. They do not live in fear of quizzes,

Purple offering what it has to offer, unapologetic, without further
Definition, purple irresistible to the artist's and to the bee's eye—

Who can blame either one this first-grade impulse toward love?
Purple, always wearing something low-cut . . .

Alberto Rios is the Poet Laureate of Arizona and host of the PBS program Books & Co. He was a finalist for the National Book Award for his poetry volume The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body. He teaches at Arizona State University and lives in Chandler, Arizona.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556594793
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
Publication date: 08/04/2015
Pages: 110
Sales rank: 468,423
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Poet laureate of Arizona, Alberto Ríos, is the author of twelve books of poetry and prose. He is a National Book Award finalist, as well a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Walt Whitman Award. Ríos teaches at Arizona State University and is the host of a PBS program "Books & Co." He lives in Chandler, Arizona.

Table of Contents

1 They hide very well

Sunday Dinner at Tuesday Breakfast 5

Morning, Just 6

Sudden Smells, Sudden Songs 7

Leaves and Leaves 8

Dark Rubies in a Pirate's Chest 10

When There Were Ghosts 12

Me Showering 13

Small Town Cashews 15

Winter Lemons 17

Where Sleep Is 18

The Thirst of Things 20

Our Second Lives 21

The Half-Brother Sciences 23

Looking Across the Line 25

On Gathering Artists 29

Desert Bestiary Sonnet, One 31

When Giving Ts All We Have 32

Desert Flora Sonnet, One 33

Who's That Good-Looking Pie Chart Walking Down the Hall? 34

Desert Bestiary Sonnet, Two 35

Stardust and Centuries 36

An Instruction to Myself 36

2 Oh, us.

A Small Story about the Sky 41

Short Stories 44

A Winter Afternoon, Night Coming 45

At Ease 46

That Woman Who Used to Sit Here All Those Years 47

Secrets of the Curandera 50

The Flour Man 53

Who Has Need, I Stand with You 55

The Beetles and the Crows 56

One Thursday Afternoon: Magdalena, Sonora, 1939 57

November 2: Día de los muertos 58

Me the Man in a Hurry 61

The Border: A Double Sonnet 63

Mad Honey 65

Lemon-Light 67

3 We let them go

We Dogs of a Thursday Off 71

Two Men 72

Not Me 73

My Criminal Notebook 74

Dry Water 76

The Fence 77

Before Sleep 78

Weekend Weather 79

She Uncovered Her Breasts for Me 80

Words in the Woods 83

The Feather in Search of Its Bird 84

The Border Before 85

The Middleman 86

Water Flower 88

How the Sky Is Made 90

Poems of Public Purpose A mountain lion asks permission with its teeth

Epithalamium: Next to Me 93

Desert Flora Sonnet, Two 94

Epithalamium: The Map of Us 95

Desert Bestiary Sonnet, Three 96

Epithalamium: Breathlessness 97

Desert Flora Sonnet, Three 98

The Circus in the Desert: Philip Curtis 99

Knowledge Neighbors 101

4 Something is always broken

Medicalarium 105

Charm String 108

One of the Two of Me 109

Border Lines 110

Líneas Fronterizas 111

The Who That I Am 112

One Morning at the End of the Cold Months 113

More than Once 115

On Waking, If Waking 116

Hands on the Wall of a Church 117

Understanding the Black-Tailed Jackrabbit 118

Citizens of a Great Country 120

Dentist, Mexico, 1959 121

October Rain 122

The Broken 123

About the Author 125

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