In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Air So Lousy with it Everything’s Made Heavy-Thick, and: That Your August Sky Somehow Suddenly, and: Any Highway will Turn Out Night, and: That Flat Blue Plaster Sky Curves Us
  • Monica Berlin (bio) and Beth Marzoni (bio)

Air So Lousy with it Everything’s Made Heavy-Thick

& dishearted we’ll turn down the news. Dishearted

by the rush of alongside & what is, whatwe’ll hear scorched & think scoured, here

swallowed, silted. Humbled we’ll corner-foldthose pages, map the measure it would take

to burn off all this too muchness. Fire has its ownidiom—its sentence turns, becomes another kind

of weather on our tongues. So, all this talkto buttress the palate against

some awful caving in. We’d rather the musicof loss quiet. If only a needle

after the album’s end. If onlya phone booth, that other era

overseas, a coin’s tinny drop. If beforeall sound rushes back

then every disaster we’ve known gathers upthat space in the static of if. As in, if the wind

turns. As in, if the rain holdsor if the bridge cannot. Then then

kicks up its storm in our chests leadenwhere dishearted didn’t begin but stays on. [End Page 111]

Because fi re season & then sputtered out,because gone under & all bears down,

called or not. Edges singed or wornthin or too saturated, because will run out

of names come winter. Because so many placeswe recognize or think that we do

until the river changes its mind. Orsixty years late & twelve miles from where

it crashed, the plane & its crew surface.That glaciered silence heaves off any grief

we might call mass grave, call memorialturned monument turned natural wonder. [End Page 112]

That Your August Sky Somehow Suddenly

held above us a light we’d nearly forgotten

—time moving as it does, all at once & notat all—as if to say Don’t worry, I’ve got this

covered. Now we’re taking turnspicking a word out of the clouds’

lettered hunt & peck. The streets were empty.The streets are still empty. There was a truck

pulling into town. There is another truckabout to pull away. That & the hands

want filling. But where to hook& dig in when even geology proves suddenly

the ground below our feet: the river meandersoff course, or to some ancient bedrock

only it knows, or disappears altogether & in its placethe double take & discord of tumbleweed, roots

shrugging off soil without a fight? Therewas a river we drove toward. The same river

we drive away from. There was an overflowingriver we carried home in bottles & now

there’s a river drying up. It is the same river ifthere can ever be. We know maps mostly

chart lies & necessary ones, lies of omission.We know we are telling the truth when we say [End Page 113]

that we carried the river over the riverthat we raised the river up out of the river

then crossed it over itselfthat we tied the river in a knot or we knotted

the river as best we could above our hips beforewading back out under that other August sky

in case we lost it for good. In case we couldn’tfind our way back. What we mean is both

rivers have the same name. What we mean is there issediment at the bottom of every story we might tell,

also called drift. What we mean is there wasspilled on the counter the same river we hung

on our walls. Drift: a continuous & slow movementor the deviation of a vessel from its course

as a result of currents. If the lassoed pull & tugof a thing so big is unimaginable, try it this way:

in the river was the river & the sky. The riverits own horizon, blueprint of seasons scaled never

to fit how we inch through nights mostlyalone, how we struggle to pin down, to say,

leave trace or traceable each drift—driftof daffodils, drift made seam, drift turned deposit

by retreating drift of glacier, even...


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pp. 111-117
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