Jacket worn and shabby like a pack of wolves.
Face like a marble chip.
Sitting in a ring of his letters in the grove that sighs
of mocking and mistakes.
Yes, the heart is blown like paper through inhospitable passages.
Now sunset steals like a fox across this land
setting the grass on fire in a moment.
The sky is filled with horns and hooves, and underneath
the calèche glides shadowy between my father’s
“And Father, dear Father, ‘your memory causes my heart to fall out,’ to spatter flat on the ground until all is left behind, until the hollow body begins to trace out its shell-like regions: the ribcage, chest, and pelvic girdle grieve until the bones are rearranged, resemble a skeleton, a museum exhibit, a body shell case. In case the glass shatters, document the past with exquisite repose; reconfigure the bones until they order the mind without disrupting the brain, which is constantly at work to put the pieces back in order. Say to the brain: ‘Replenish the images you refuse to keep; refuse stasis. Resign from eating away at the thing; eat the thing.” —Claire Donato, Burial
If after our death they want to transform us into a tiny withered flame that walks along the paths of winds—we have to rebel. What good is an eternal leisure on the bosom of air, in the shade of a yellow halo, amid the murmur of two-dimensional choirs?
One should enter rock, wood, water, the cracks of a gate. Better to be the creaking of a floor than shrilly transparent perfection.
The sexual gasps coming from the garden shed
of my friends turning twenty, tipsy
droll joke of my friends turning thirty, lost
car keys even with tied-to-them a silly whistle
turning forty, bullshit about September
the most passionate month fifty, bird-watching
nap my friends sixty, turning empty chair
at card-club on my friends turning, turning
while I remain unchanged, a peach pit,
still assisting an ant with a stick,
tapping a peanut to signal a squirrel,
a collection of eternal accidents
while the body, without pity, shrinks,
expands, noises coming from it like
trapped rabbits, sometimes muffled
xylophone, its liquids fermenting,
drunk on itself, dance just foot slams,
painting just spray and spill, brain commanding
its grit to become ruby, won’t, tears amniotic,
incinerated dust then an oblivious nephew
given my watch in a velvet sack,
my ghost eating mulberries in a tree,
still stained, my tyrannosaurus skull still
trying to poke through a mouse hole in the cosmos.
“We passed the abandoned windmill , and Mr. Kaspar went on talking. He told us that a few days ago he dreamed that a grown man and a little boy came knowing at his door with some good news for him. That premonition had put him in an excellent mood, and it came true today. For what finer thing could happen to a fellow in times like these? My father glanced discreetly at his watch; time was sailing by relentlessly, and the last narrow-gauge train was leaving from the next village in an hour.” —Paweł Huelle, “The Table,” Moving House: Stories
You remember the name was Jensen. She seemed old
always alone inside, face pasted gray to the window,
and mail never came. Two blocks down the Grubskis
went insane. George played rotten trombone
Easter when they flew the flag. Wild roses
remind you the roads were gravel and vacant lots
the rule. Poverty was real, wallet and spirit,
and each day slow as church. You remember threadbare
church groups on the corner, howling their faith
at stars, and violent Holy Rollers
renting that barn for their annual violent sing
and the barn burned down when you came back from war.
—Richard Hugo, from “What Thou Lovest Well Remains American”
“Por un rato, el viento que soplaba desde abajo nos trajo un tumulto de voces amontonadas, haciendo un ruido igual al que hace el agua crecida cuando rueda sobre pedregales.” —Juan Rulfo, El llano en llamas