Adam Giannelli

How the Light Is Spent


Even the light accepts the trespasses
against it, so that a bit of shade

chars the grass. Across the gravel
at the underpass
                                it makes a clean break,

but more often it ends in a mottle
of amber and umber.
                                        The bevels of

leaves become the light’s ambivalences—
and below, the veil.

In the spokes of a bicycle, it
pulsates, and between the loiterers

by the taco stand,
                                 erects pillars.
Beneath the maples it concedes whole

realms that house any leaves that
may fall.
                 There are places it won’t go—

the sea floor, the ingot of shadow
in a drawer. Like a visitor in a hospital

it waits, warming the spot off
to one side—and it takes such lengths

to leave the room, lingering at
the bedside,
                       the far wall, the doorjamb.

Adam Giannelli’s poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, Yale Review, Field, and elsewhere. He is the translator of a selection of prose poems by Marosa di Giorgio, Diadem (BOA Editions, 2012), and the editor of High Lonesome (Oberlin College Press, 2006), a collection of essays on Charles Wright.