Rae Gouirand’s first collection of poetry, Open Winter, was selected by Elaine Equi for the 2011 Bellday Prize, and won a 2012 Independent Publisher Book Award for Poetry as well as the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Award for Poetry. A lecturer in the Department of English at UC-Davis, Nonfiction Editor for California Northern Magazine, and Director of the Keywords workshop for queer and trans teen writers at the Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center, she is currently at work on a second book of poems and a collection of linked essays.
The fall my father died, we spent social studies
tracing maps out of the book: nations,
waters to memorize and reproduce. Maybe we
were in South America that October. I wasn’t
drawing anything. I wasn’t moving a pencil
over tracing paper. I wasn’t sharpening
that pencil so my line would jump.
I wasn’t filling in the spaces with colors.
Maybe I was filling in the spaces with colors.
Maybe I was holding the crayon, my hands
a little large around the wax. Maybe
I was almost applying color to paper,
turning it emerald, magenta, though
those were not the colors of those countries,
just the colors underneath the vellum
over the page we were opened to.
Ghazal With Time
There was a time it felt there was time
for all I longed to be patient for. There was time.
The time around my words was soft
and strong, my question rested. There was time
for all I did not know to do and for all
I needed time for. Patience for all there was. Time
drew its way, assured every unknown.
Here was fine as here, minding there. Was time
not yet something I felt inside? Was
it quiet, quietly spreading there? Was time
my final insurance? My questions
a total sum? Did I trust a sense there was? Time
took my wide open hand and replaced
it with more of the same. Where there was time
I found a reason to believe. In time
there was nothing but nothing. There was time
in me, there was time in being, when
the present was infinite, and there was time
to be infinite again. The one thing
I knew was the only thing: there was time.