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



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—

diaphanous, indestructible




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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