Poetry from AGNI, Web Issue 4


    Perhaps By Then You Will
    No Longer Be In Love

    Although you have betrayed him in a dream,
    you have betrayed him, and the infidelities
    of sleep will change you: you

    will find yourself suddenly in love
    with the two young women
    outside your window
    whose voices and laughter fell


    with last winter's snow. You will begin to think:
    I am beginning to move among them.
    But only you will be wearing a snap-brimmed
    hat. When the knock comes, it will knock

    a certain reticence. It will leave
    your door covered in white knuckles.

    And the windows will no longer breathe, they will die

    like paintings. And will no longer be
    worrying the stars into meaning, they will
    already mean something, but that will only be the wind,
    only the wind that will be

    keen and keening.

    All else will remain hidden and nameless.
    By which I mean: your soul. By which I mean

    you will begin by missing

    your old sadness, that old country: a country
    fielded in rye. A strange sore
    will just then start to form
    underneath your tongue.

    You will always find yourself being unfaithful to someone.
    You will always be gathering something from the landscape

    without poems:

    then, finally, winter,
    to once again
    thin things out, down

    to those two women's
    voices. And their laughter, their laughter falling
    with the new snow?

    Perhaps by then you will no longer be in love.

    Your infidelities will have changed you.

    The Unhoused Heart

    I was without lathe
    Or hacksaw, I was

    Not much at salvage:
    Over the years a few soft planks

    Of shittimwood and a large jar
    Of bitten nails.

    So I hired me a shipwright
    No mere a apprentice

    For the sake of the vessel:
    Not just sail, and not just boat.

    Enlisted him to launch me into
    Hardship. He unjointed

    Booms, tore down my jury-
    Rigging, brought down the flawed

    Bowsprit, the soot-covered
    Spanker and the rest of my patchwork

    Sails. Oh, he was stern, not gaff-
    Headed, he went on gut-feeling,

    Feeding me hardtack: three square-
    Rigged masts and a homemade

    Keel. But I was no Spar. Nothing stuck
    To these ribs. And now

    All that is left is the tarred breastbone
    Of a ponderous bird.

    But I had agreed, had said
    I would do anything

    To weigh down the smoke
    In my nostrils.

    I remember having pled: anything, anything,
    For my keelhauledheart.