Bone Almanac

By JACQUELYN POPE

That black telephone would ring and ring,
fixed to its wall. It was a ring that roamed
the mind, while night drummed down
its list of last and lost events, circadian
paths that tangled where they tried to pass,
crossed and uncrossed hours.

The body’d
yield, caving in to sleep, the craved thing
neither wet nor warm, soft simple oblivion.

Yet you’d have none of it, stricken from light
as you were, turned and returned on currents
of exhaustion, low tides and high times,
unprettied by tricks of heat, cheated
of illusion.

Dream back to otherwise.
The laddered rope you climbed to see the lights
of town still dangles where you left it, a token
of time framed in an old exchange,
the horizon fallen away on all sides:

flattened, widened, extended unto vanishing.
Jacquelyn Pope is the author of Watermark. Hungerpots, her translations of the Dutch poet Hester Knibbe, is forthcoming. She is the recipient of a 2015 NEA Translation Fellowship, a PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant, and awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

[Purchase your copy of Issue 09 here.]

Bone Almanac

Related Posts

Image of book cover

Kazakhstani Poet Aigerim Tazhi in Translation

Aigerim Tazhi
A shaggy cactus in the window / catches on the drape. A stinging / spine in the hand. Along the wall. / Don't step into a moonbeam, / Don't tread on a house-elf / Or any other living thing. / In the newborn darkness / Pushing away dreams and shadows, / Sit on a sofa, keep still...

Graffitied diamond

A List of His Flaws

PETER MISHLER
Single-headed. / Flowering inwardly. / Barely felt in the birth canal... / Cupped like a handful of sea uncertainly held. / Carried fire to the human encampment. / Herod in boyhood. / An herbicide. / Given name known to the weapons inspectors. / Anchorite.

Cover of John Freeman's "The Park," a black and white photo of park benches and trees

April 2020 Poetry Feature: Poems from John Freeman’s THE PARK

JOHN FREEMAN
Every Sunday belfry bats of dread / flapped in the day’s corners— / I raised my head at 25, at 30, then 35, / as the sun arced down, always / wretched by the coming dark. / I assumed it was the awakening / singular to humans: / one day, that day would be the last.