Our new poetry editor, Wendy Xu, has selected two poems by Kit Schluter for her monthly series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

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Detail of Sophia Narrett’s “Stars Align” (2014), embroidery thread and fabric, 53 x 33 in (photo by Jillian Steinhauer for Hyperallergic) (click to enlarge)

A moment when nobody on Earth is speaking

They’re making me balance a plate on my nose

like a seal

but they won’t stop crying

aerial view of a town without color

night of brass & humiliation

the walls are crumbling

we’re in a garden the sky is falling

the plate is hard to balance

scattered with lead shot

it came from nowhere at all

it isn’t a plate it’s too many days

if it falls down

(all the little fingernails)

they won’t hold their candles by my window anymore

that time were slicker than an iris

I loosen my throat prick my tonsils till they burst

my legs are not wicks rising into fire

spell my name twice your ear to my skin

be your own wick no one is behind the fence to talk to

spell my name backward

where is my mother

fix her headache

spell her name inside out

in the corner of some grassy gymnasium

in the concrete zone behind some apartment

distractions: the spider glassing my trachea

the glazier frosting my retina

no one is talking tonight no not on Earth

forget it until you forget about it

I only want to be sung to like anyone

Coign of Vantage

Take my word for it: the salty blue sphere

is the most laughable shape in all of geometry

because, when its shadow arrives, mopey at the threshold,

an unaccompanied poetry spills out—but it’s all been said before

on a broadside, in luscious, azure paragraphs

where clause after clause apportioned ethical contemplation

in a fantasy so habitual it resorted to the asexual:

tears of laughter stream from a fuzzy drupelet of blue paint

as I eavesdrop on the four older men holding court at the round table

as their words turn to pollen, clouding out their mouths

with the tedium of explaining the difference of a 0 and an O

to someone who’s never before seen Roman script.

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Kit Schluter is translator of Marcel Schwob’s The Book of Monelle, Jaime Saenz’s The Cold, Amandine André’s Circle of Dogs (in collaboration with Jocelyn Spaar), and several forthcoming books. Bits of his own writing can be found in Boston Review, BOMB, and the chapbook Inclusivity Blueprint from Diez. He is currently on a year’s fellowship with the National Endowment for the Arts for further translation of Marcel Schwob, and coedits/designs for O’clock Press.

Wendy Xu is the author of the poetry collections Phrasis (Fence, 2017), winner of the 2016 Ottoline Prize, and You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013). The recipient of a Ruth...