Poetry

One Poem by Julia Guez

Our poetry editor, Wendy Xu, has selected one poem by Julia Guez for her monthly series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

Julie Curtiss, “After the Storm” (2017), acrylic and oil on canvas, 40 inches x 32 inches (image courtesy the artist and 106 Green)

Unable To Find What I Was Formerly Sure Was There

 

This is my body.

 

Greenery where before there was amnion,

pearl, pollen and salt.

 

Not that there hasn’t also been wonder.

And the effect of many suns setting at once.

A pall we begin by

 

pretending not to notice.

 

The first of many deaths,

a martyring:

 

Anything to bring cantering

back from what river

crossing cold first

 

a mare-like plodding sound,

 

then something more hopeful.

The terrain we travel

 

lanternlessly and, yes, afraid

won’t cohere much longer.

Beyond any semblance of a tree-line

 

beleaguered by the same thought,

 

the swale and copse have begun

to bend

 

birdlessly

abandoning the fallows’

odd interval until pine and juniper disappear

 

completely.

 

And sheer, the land mostly tectonic now

has risen to the level of my hands, forcing

 

a final genuflection of sorts.

Ambivalences (and there were some

whose only safe passage had to have been

 

a violent one),

 

unmoored

like so many forgotten trades

 

littering the inlet with hulls.

The saddest wicker paint peeling

nets and phlegm

 

sound of that last anchor borne

 

aloft hand over hand, dangling,

the ferryman aware of what this might mean.

 

Practice telling the story as if

this part’s already happened—

the quickening through tissue and bone,

 

bloodied,

 

lowering into the bulge of that last

hold. Like a chute – some say,

 

a tunnel or a toboggan.

The doctor’s gown even greener than before

they swarm the buxom Equatorial one—

 

head bent, body curled—

 

a creaturely sound

from the vast, void-like and watery

 

opening out, the throat

a conduit for this

otherworldly force like a glacier

 

calving

 

inside the more

obsolete sound of a trireme

 

that’ll always be

circumnavigating

that glacier, gloved

 

hands holding my own

 

heels high for the pelvissing

plosive

 

head, shoulders, hip, knees

feet and cord

that voice never not

 

in my ear and soon another,

 

voices

so large in their beautiful Latin,

 

how could they accept

being refracted so small

in another grammar?

 

The science of a single pin

 

piercing

languagelessly through the newest

 

triad—

a foaling not unlike any other—

diaphanous, indestructible

 

tether

 

composed like them of eros,

dust, algebra and fire.

 

 

*   *   *

Julia Guez’s poems, reviews and translations have recently appeared in POETRY, the Guardian, Boston Review, PEN Poetry Series, BOMBLog, the Brooklyn Rail and Public Pool. She teaches creative writing at Rutgers University and works as a poetry reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Guez lives in Brooklyn and online @G_U_E_Z.

 

Readers are encouraged to submit 3–5 poems as a PDF to Wendy Xu for consideration at [email protected]

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