• 27,000 Miles

    These two asleep . . . so indrawn and compact,
    like lavish origami animals returned

    to slips of paper once again; and then
    the paper once again become a string... more »

  • D____ L____'s

    Fathers are invariably great nuisances on the stage, and always have to give the hero or heroine a long explanation of what was done before the curtain rose, usually commencing with "It is now nineteen years, my dear child, since ..." etc., etc.
    —Charles Dickens... more »

  • How Simile Works

    The drizzle-slicked cobblestone alleys
    of some city;
    and the brickwork back
    of the lumbering Galapagos tortoise... more »

  • Imps

    Fire isn't allowed, for the sake of the books.
    The lean monk-copyist who scribes the books is slate-blue at his fingertips
    this steely late-November day in the year 1000. Brother Ambrosio
    huffs some perfunctory warmth on his stiffening hands,... more »

  • Laws of the Universe

    The renewal project is doomed: because
    its funding board's vice-president resigned: because
    the acids of divorce were eating day-long
    at her stomach, at her thoughts: because... more »

  • Lullabye

    sleep, little beansprout
    don't be scared
    the night is simply the true sky
    bared... more »

  • Second Thoughts

    1862: Dante Gabriel Rossetti buried his young wife Elizabeth Rossetti with a sheaf of his unpublished poems.

    . . . and then of course the weeping: some demurely, some
    flamboyantly. Those elegiac tears, if shed... more »

  • Sentimental

    The light has traveled unthinkable thousands of miles to be
    condensed, recharged, and poured off the white white pages
    of an open Bible the country parson holds in front of this couple
    in a field, in July, in the sap and the flyswirl of July... more »

  • Sestina: As There Are Support Groups, There Are Support Words

    The name of his native country pronounced on a distant shore
    could not please the ears of a traveller more than hearing
    the words "nitrogen," "oxidation of iron" and "hygrometer."
    —Alexander von Humboldt, nineteenth-century scientist-explorer... more »

  • Shawl

    Eight hours by bus, and night
    was on them. He could see himself now
    in the window, see his head there with the country... more »

  • Stonehenge

    Each morning he'd anoint the room's four corners
    with an arc of piss, and then—until
    he was forcibly halted—beat his forehead open
    on the eastern wall, the "sunrise wall,"... more »

  • The Sciences Sing a Lullabye

    Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
    you're tired. Every atom in you
    has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
    nonstop from mitosis to now.... more »

  • Units

    We could say that Rembrandt was a greater painter than Kandinsky. We could not say that Rembrandt was three and a half times better than Kandinsky. . . . We could say, "I have more pain than I had yesterday." When we tried to say, "I have nine dols of pain,' we found we were talking nonsense.... more »