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Jacket 19 — October 2002   |   # 19  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |
This issue of Jacket is a collaboration with Verse magazine

Ethan Paquin

Two poems


if the son is dead,
if the music, dredged —

if the granite’s cool,
not charged with heat —

if I speak forthright,
but my mind’s on Spain

(really, aren’t we all off some-
where like Spain, sea of dust) —

if words reject covenance
with their meanings —

if trees reject their leaning,
leaves forego their revenance —

if rains flush the rust
to thus bear my face — come

back, skin, hide no longer— rain,
you loner, backdrop, backlight,

if you’d only quit your retreat
then the world be awrap in tulle,

stippled color of the failed,

color of bells drowned

Terrarium, A Quincunx

Instruments. Alternately, these crack and measure the smile, willing you / nilling you. There are lessons: how miniature shovels, the ones used for digging repens from the side of a highway, can be turned toward your chest by a raving grandmother. Following seizures she’d speak of stagecoach wheels as well, instruments for raccoons or turncoats who embezzled gold from some foothills cabins to fear. She was lucid in the screen-porch, the hat of a tiny girl fallen in a pond. Lucid’s as good as a smile, a sound diagnosis.

Their hats on a pond o pray they fall not in.

Passersby watched from a coach these transgressions: walking on water, cursing the wind.

A chorus of tiny girls in polkadot clamdiggers:

                       terrible sighs the noises of flush, a coachful of sprightly vague weight
                i think we’re afraid o yes we’re afraid of night it hangs from our necks
                        an octave dispatched by weather will settle on this bank

Somewhere there is a calm garden, and a shovel to turn under the many thin bones of these dreams.

Another version:

Dear children led through a garden erupting lily-sluice. Learned the word ‘splaying’ — as in cirrus, which did so in the form of smiles. Path of cloud hovers, not cloud itself,

— a wake.

All the bus-ride children in their green seats bore witness to version for the first time.
There was lily, a poison, abandoned letter. There was the bone hearth of earth.
There were sleeves of thorns for all to wear, for those outside to leer upon.

‘None of us were born there,’ Suze said of ______. She could have been talking about the fishbowl. It teetered on the sink as Herve filled it with fertilizer — dried rabbit shit, which can be had for a song at any local rabbitry. The finest is that of the New Zealand rabbit (the white kind), which incidentally suffers hock-scurvy very easily. Care must be taken to wash its feet daily. The chinchilla’s shit retains more oxygen, for they have 2-3 extra centimeters of small intestine. Lops don’t shit much — and placed the salamander inside the small ceramic castle.

It looked like the abandoned textile mill being demolished in favor of a pharmacy. Pharmacies are springing up everywhere. ‘None of us were born into this shit,’ said Suze, peering out the screen-porch at heavy traffic. The salamander curled in the sun of its little fishbowl, shit-ions commuting the vacancies of hot evening air.

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