Andrew Szilvasy

Beyond All Change

The earth is beautiful beyond all change.
I think it’s the all that really gets me.
Naked trees in a milk-white field

or eagles picture-still on mountains
that cradle the jaws of late leviathans:
these are beautiful beyond all change.

And I can even see the deep-sea beauty
of the anglerfish, whose
take on love makes true the human lie:

flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood.
But is the poet right about all change?
There will come a time when the bloated

sun will drink the rocks
and breathe the oceans: when we sit
with crows in flaming trees,

will we walk hand-in hand admiring
the mountains that melt around us?



God, I hated Pan so much I had
the metal hand of my invented god
Metalican spring from a meadow and crush

his stupid goaty face. My myth exulted
in the noise of violence: his screams
and the crack of his eye sockets figured

prominently. Typical middle school gore.
But I miss Pan now—his mysteries
where the emanations of a god

unburdened by the hair and teeth,
give us no pride of place: all bleed
into One. What was it in that

ancient kykeon? I’ve tasted
only wine—good, mind you,
but after the communion

and the darkness, no Elysian Fields,
only the sabachthani
and a pounding head that hates the sun.


Tourist in Amsterdam

On a slate slab I sat alone
after visiting the van Gogh,
and I thought the dying fields and the black
birds obscured the appeal

of clear-eyed loneliness. Ceramic clouds
clamored then and caressed
the sun rough. I sat and people
scattered across the park as shells

smashed beneath a hammer. But then
I heard the call of the thunder—
of an unseen trashcan dragged swift over
cobblestones—and I ran.


The Pianist Plays Parcheesi

She drives an hour through the trafficked burg.
Cords score the sky, a gridded mirror

of the ground, and the lights, boxes and rules
make the game a pleasant change of clip.

Yet Marina begins to drift mid-game,
old Beethovenian arpeggios

upbrimming in her muddy mind.
Her fingers pace the notes beside the board

and she varies them, here and there,
a melody new and fresh, unheard

yet with a whiff of ghost.
She longs to consummate this tune,

to poke it on cold keys and see
a face who makes it out and churns.

The pawns rest in their nests and beg to move.
She tap-tap-taps the table. Her friends desire

what’s best: plush sheets, mown lawns, a Napa tale—
for her to take her fucking turn.

What makes this quaintrelle wait?
She refuses to stop the music exuding from her pores.

She races home through the empty burg.
What moon shines is filtered through scouring pads.

The yellow street lights glow like clarified butter.
She taps orgiastic arpeggios on the wheel.

© Andrew Szilvasy

Andrew Szilvasy teaches British Literature outside of Boston, and has poems appearing or forthcoming in CutBank, Barrow Street, Smartish Pace, and Permafrost, among others. He lives in Boston with his wife. Aside from writing, reading and teaching, Andrew spends his time hiking, running, and brewing beer.

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