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,
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
abandoning the fallows’
odd interval until pine and juniper disappear
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),
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,
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
inside the more
obsolete sound of a trireme
that’ll always be
that glacier, gloved
hands holding my own
heels high for the pelvissing
head, shoulders, hip, knees
feet and cord
that voice never not
in my ear and soon another,
so large in their beautiful Latin,
how could they accept
being refracted so small
in another grammar?
The science of a single pin
languagelessly through the newest
a foaling not unlike any other—
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]