The Minutes Swim


There are so many minutes in a day
and trying to account for each of them
leads nowhere but to madness. No, to live
we must let the minutes swim by us
like clouds of minnows, undifferentiated
one from the other yet speaking to us
as shadows speak—tongueless, tenebrous,
unintentional messengers of time.


The brain is the ocean inside us—we wake,
we sleep—how much we care and how little
we know. This richness is almost beyond us,
but because we are human we stretch our nets,
torn by storms of dread and spliced by hope, to seine
for something shining from the deep.

Anne Pierson Wiese

About the poet: Anne Pierson Wiese's first collection, Floating City, Louisiana State University Press, 2007, received the Academy of American Poets 2006 Walt Whitman Award. She was the recipient of a 2005 Fellowship in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as a 2004 “Discovery”/The Nation poetry prize. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, The Southern Humanities Review and Poetry Internationa l. Her poems have also been anthologized in Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn , New York University Press, 2007, and featured by The Writer's Almanac and American Life in Poetry.