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This is Jacket 13 - April 2001   |   # 13  Contents   |   Homepage   |

This issue of JACKET is a co-production with New American Writing magazine
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Jocelyn Emerson

The Conflagration

         Darkness there was at first by darkness hidden...
                                  — Hymn of Creation, the Rg Veda


It was more just burning
than blowing together
to blaze —

punishment spoken from out of
a whirlwind —

We know this wound,
its stroke of pain,

in the oceanic dislocation
of subject...


In this morning’s locution
of early spring,

a burning-cold and salt wave’s
illegible contradiction

is splintering in tumult,
self-disclosed bright staves

spilling a sea-harvest
of insinuations.

In water, rich in nourishing

(deficient now in oxygen)
begins the invisible properties

of a body’s lasting warmth.


(How a speech of breakers —
rock salt, crushed glass, poison ivy —

administered fire to the senseless

And these knots of kelp keep and swell
the waves’ peripheral, plural sway —

neither active nor passive, and refractory
of almost all light —

save for the distance of event, save for
the distance of an extant sea’s indifferent

obligation of setting forth an open plane
(sidereal space as expiation)

And the stellar breeze of a misnamed
phenomenon can be seen well

in a nebula’s cast-off shroud.

New American Writing # 19 and Jacket 13   Contents page
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This issue of Jacket is a co-production with New American Writing magazine
published in the northern spring of each year by Maxine Chernoff and Paul Hoover
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