Poem in Which I Lament the Absence
We were just walk-ons; no one could expect us
to know the lines. It seemed in fact no one
could be held responsible for skimming the skin
from the soup, the foam from the jam,
the albatross tossed overrail. The feathered floats,
drags along behind. You might as well sprout wings
as try to leave this earth. Viewed from above,
fires like constellations dot the rainforest.
Land heaves, and heaves again. Continents
shift like leaves. But wait. Let's skate that picture
back. Rewind to what went before, what cannot
be retrieved. Men of impeccable taste.
A few finials carved and waiting. You could live
here for years without seeing the neighbors.
Sifting the mail, sure. That was to be expected.
Poem in Which Your Cells Remain Intact
For a year I drove every day in the foothills.
The road drew close to the trees at each bend.
Then, things were just beginning
to fall apart. Witness: the house sold, the move
to rented rooms. You could still run a mile without stopping.
The moon's sphere kept to its battlement.
In the walls, mold began its slow approach.
We chose our words carefully, not wanting to be
misconstrued. I'd meant to burn the papers,
to leave no trace. Mountains laid out
like a spine. You had to hand it to them.
J. L. Conrad is the author of A Cartography of Birds (LSU Press). Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Jellyfish, Mid-American Review, and Pleiades. website