Michael Rutherglen

Two poems from Michael Rutherglen’s Summer in Symmetry

followed by a note on the author


Then barb arced
to heel: he fell,

turned his eyes
to the epic

skies of the shield—
that first screen—

and first saw—
final sight—

the flawed swath,
far, of the false-

winged boy’s
descent, sun-scythed

into sea-furrows.

blackness now
waxing in his skull.

Now stilled, his fathers’
names rise from him.



Galileo in Arcetri

By a window an ephemeris left
open to ancient
rays arriving.

High inside his blindness,
a remembered sky: widdershins zodiac
over the slanted campanile.

The stones he’s thrown float up again,
the vespers’ bells transpose themselves
into a higher night

now: neural carillon,
signal fires
across his darkening hemispheres:
quick suns
just touched
with light from farther years.


Michael Rutherglen’s awards include a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and an Amy Clampitt Residency. He is a PhD Candidate in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Youths first appeared in 9th Letter, and Galileo in Arcetri in The Portland Review.