Strange markings indeed. Rachel Moritz’s “Word Blindness” inscribes a text that is by turns dark and light, organic and precisely articulated. The reader wants to be the “you” addressed in the poem, the addressee seen with such peculiar and intimate intensity: “your face the smallest phoneme.”
There’s a quality of the surreal in this poem, with its “stars as smoke plumes/& vowels as decades;” the voice comes by way of a glottis suspended between tree and rock. Yet the surreal imagination here is less showy than simply necessary. The complex syntax of the poem, the array of images, create in site and presence, an ur-text that one must track line by unfolding line. This poem instills the desire to know, to understand, while it acknowledges that understanding is at best elusive. Echos, messages scratched in playground sand must be read in the “blind fraction” of moonlight. Even the bees swirling in the honeyed dark cannot apprehend this mystery.