Stephen Kuusisto

The Way Through the World

Green in the eyelashes—not painted on, but inside so that my eyes are guarded by all the hues of the forest. Close your eyes little one. Dream of the green inside the green. Asleep the electrolysis of green spreads through the ribs.

What is a child, a woman, a man after all but a stand of trees in an open field? The horse first loved us for the green we carry. And crossing the seas all ancient mariners were drawn by this green we cannot see.


Homage to Riisto Rasa…

you touch my hair
saying:  Great Crested Grebe

among reeds
a floating nest


You sew
I study your statistical method
Your formula sheet is a star chart
I use
the seahorse’s coordinate system


The gardener cherishes a black flower–
sad napkin: it is a Lepidopterist’s poem




brightest reality:
a walking song
before the vast migration
brings back memories


in the open attic
a pregnant woman
hangs laundry

a vision of
this woman
as a child

I do not take a single step
ahead of her



I’m going sad like a toy
In an occupied land.
I’m a doll faced thing.
You can tell I was burned
For a time. Don’t
Fool yourself
I got here by chance
Having believed too much
In others. How
Could they not
Fall in love with me—
& of course

They were simply running for their lives…


Stephen Kuusisto, 2015 Poetry JudgeStephen Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs “Planet of the Blind” (a New York Times “notable book”) and “Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening” and of the poetry collections “Letters to Borges” and “Only Bread, Only Light”. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop he now teaches public policy and human rights in the Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies at Syracuse University. His new book, “What a Dog Can Do” will be published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster. He travels widely speaking about disability and human rights.


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