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Ernest Hilbert

Posted by admin on December 26, 2011

Ernest Hilbert’s debut collection is Sixty Sonnets (2009). His poems have appeared in The New Republic, Yale Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Parnassus, Boston Review, American Scholar, and the London Review




A Bach cantata slurs to static
On the stereo as a hurricane
Rumbles through our attic.
Barrages of quicksilver rain
Machine-gun aluminum.
Darkness drags around the lawn.
By afternoon, skies foam
To white. Air is washed clean.
The bright grass is strewn
With debris like a battle scene.
We round the house to discover
The chimney down, but intact,
Like some primitive ziggurat.
We kick leaves, find a pool cover,
Plastic bags, limbs storm-cracked,
Spilled-out out like roasted bird flesh with twists of fat.
A TV aerial needles up like the mast
Of a wrecked schooner. Beyond it,
We find the tilted apple tree.
What appeared, in the past,
So permanent, is now split
Down the middle, pulled free
From its base by the storm.
Lumps of sweating soil spread
Where dendritic root protrudes into
Damp air, the tree’s capillary form
Capsized, not entirely dead,
But dying by parts where it grows.
A truck and great chain will haul
It from our earth, leave a hole
We’ll someday fill, a socket of mud
Where our tree once seemed so tall,
Now a den black like a vein of coal
Or splash of parched ancestral blood.


From Volume VI, Issue 1, 2011.