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the gryphon

He would have wanted to know which body he represented. A boy could not have told you, The moon will be different then as now. A boy is taught the moon is a satellite. A boy dresses as a bear, but secretly he wants to lose himself among the windbreak. A road map hung on the wood panels in his bedroom. He slept beneath it, woke to it. He was called into a small white room and asked why it was he drew them. Because the desert rose to meet him each morning. Because he knew a patch of woods near a turnpike where he found a buffalo head nickel, a rusting fire engine. He couldn’t have told you where he met the gryphon. Perhaps in a book, or a dream, or a name. Maybe he just loved wings, whatever could lift him from the ponds near the battlefield with cattails in his hand. To imagine a figure so ancient and elegant while living in brick buildings without light fixtures makes perfect sense. There were rats beneath the buildings, not lions. He couldn’t even remember seeing a bird. The boy walks to the school carrying colored paper. His father drives to Newark in the rain, works in a plant, and after work drinks beer beneath the bridges overlooking Manhattan. The boy grows up, keeps a map in the glove box. He hangs a map of Spain on the wall. In Spain he found a small bridge, under which a thin river shuffled Roman stones. Beneath the bridge, light made waves against the rusting metal, elaborate webs whose color he cannot name, and he thought, Surely this is what my father must have seen.

sean patrick hill, author of The Imagined Field (Paper Kite Press, 2010) and Interstitial (BlazeVOX, 2011), was recently awarded a Zoland Poetry Fellowship and residency at the Vermont Studio Center. His reviews of poetry and interviews appear in Hayden's Ferry Review, Boston Review, Rain Taxi, Bookslut, Guernica, and Gulf Coast. Poems appear or are forthcoming in JERRY, Harpur Palate, LIT, CutBank, Drunken Boat, DIAGRAM, Spork, and Zoland Poetry. He currently lives and teaches in Kentucky, and is an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College.