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

Srikanth Reddy

Four poems


The ending is sad if you think of it.
Portable castle, luna,

two singers pretending to kiss
for the mob. Ovation. The end

of applause, the sound of a fire
failing to catch in the dark.  

Somebody took down the bay
and left us to pick up the boats

in the pit. Rigging everywhere.  
What stagecraft, what dripping

cathedrals. I sit on my rock
with a fistful of raisins

and listen. Sometimes an extra
dismantles a cloud. Sometimes

a whale remembers the spotlight.

Hotel Lullaby

No matter how often you knock
on the ocean the ocean

just waves. No matter
how often you enter the ocean

the ocean still says
no one’s home. You must leave

her dear Ursula. As I write this
they polish the big  

chandelier. Every prism
a sunset in abstract

or bijou foyer depending
on where you stand.

They take it apart every Fall
& call it Spring cleaning.

They bring me my tea.
They ask me my name

& I tell them — Ursula,
I don’t even know

how to miss who you left.  
So many cabanas

to choose from tonight
but only one view.

It’s the sea.
What keeps me awake

is the sound of you sleeping
beside me again my dear Ursula,

Ursula, Ursula dear — then
you’re nothing

but waves & I break.


I was cold.  
You wove me a mantle of smoke.  
I was thirsty.  
You sent me a cloud in a crate.
You sent me a note.
You sent me a crate in a crate with a note saying bury this.  
So I struck off with my shovel & never came back.  
When the digging was over, I buried my shovel.  
I buried it deeper.  
I tendered my prospects to dusk.  
Some men will make a grave out of anything.  
It depends on how desperate they get.  
Times when a body could dig clean through the night.

Third Circle (The Gluttonous)

Along with the bitter, burnt onions,
glazed livers of cattle, chattel
of the slope, we ruminated the dawn

on that slope, blown wort rattling
its seed under barrelsome bellies
big with the promise of capital

for Fall. Dapple drops to her knees
for the very first time and lows,
blinks and thinks moo, it’s blurry,

the open, with its one-armed tree
waving welcome to the sensorium,
trunk sunk like a bolt in jade meadow.

Hello hello, make yourself a home.
Our Apple licks young Dapple clean
under placental skies, a cerise dome,

dulcet Dapple. Funny, this sweet
without sweetness. Come from within,
next thing you know she’s on her feet

with her lips to some visitor’s hand.  

Jacket 19 — October 2002  Contents page
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