Poems of the Week



Aspirin and Shadow

Moon I swallow at dawn
to unsludge the blood,
haul it along: clump
of dust dissolving
that I might not
dissolve too soon

into this dust
I trudge across,
moonlight fashioning
a blackness I drag
behind me, long
blank flag of myself.


Elegy as a Red Dress

We open our red dresses
and underneath

you are gone. What

thousands of wingless
bees that

when true, are blue, that
no longer make

goods, that no longer

clearly, drunk baskets
of fuzz.


From Thought’s Divan

I came to a valley amid mountains where no valley was.
A wind full of gentle bells rushed through the soft grass.
Almond blossoms floated like foam on the rich darkness.
Above the high mountains bitter-cold air bit into crunching snow.
Behind them the moon strewed its light like sugar
over the blank mystery of the sea.

And peacefully
stuffed on its sumptuous beauty, I cursed

and ruminating
sprawled out on thought’s divan
conjured up the notion that behind the stars

the angels are waiting—the universe’s seamstresses in white—
who each with an arch smile and a quick scissor snip

rips the heart from the chest and throws it
high up and catches it
throws and catches
throws and catches
until it is weightless and floats away in the dark.

translated from the Danish by Roger Greenwald


Aubade, Iraq

Sulfur-mouthed nightcrier, rooftop
harbinger, bringer of the gut-shot

dawn—What I would do to keep you
at rifle’s reach, stifle you, drown you

in the Tigris’ muck and swill, touch you
aflame on its kerosene spine

I could wait out artillery skitter, crater-
blast, stay here long into next empire

dreaming fingers and the Fertile Crescent
of thighs—if not for your voice

risen like Babel’s ghost from the ruined fortress
Ash-haired rider come to tongue open

dawn’s torturous eye—


all from Pleiades 31.1 (2011), Eds. Wayne Miller and Phong Nguyen

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