Matt Rasmussen


turn the sky into water.
All the animals gathered

and decided if the sky
were water they would

be drowned. So they cried  
until the oceans formed.

You have not turned
the sky into water,

said God. But we
have made a sky of water

in which fish swim
as birds fly. It is only

a matter of perspective,
said one of the animals.

God, who was trapped
in the sky, needed a way out.

When he looked down
on the ocean he could only see

his wide blue reflection.
This irritated him.

The mountains
which once caressed

now ground against him.
And God said,

Tear down the mountains
and build me some fields.

The animals gathered
and having cried enough

would never again.
God knew he had

asked too much.
He threw himself

into the sun and burnt
into white ash. It fell

from the sky and covered
the mountains. The animal

who named everything
called it snow.

Matt Rasmussen’s poetry has been published in Gulf CoastCimarron Review, H_NGM_N, New York Quarterly, Paper Darts, and at He’s received awards, grants, and residencies from The Bush Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arst, The Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN, and The Corporation of Yaddo. He is a 2012 McKnight Artist Fellow, a former Peace Corps Volunteer, and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College. His first book, Black Aperture, won the 2012 Walt Whitman Award and will be published in 2013 by LSU Press. He’s a founding editor of Birds, LLC, a small, independent poetry press.

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