- Motion Harmony #1, and: Motion Harmony #2, and: Motion Harmony #4, and: Inscription in the Book, Invisible Ink, and: Station, and: Nests
Motion Harmony #1
The first leaf-stripping rain reaps a summer’s worth by evening.
The moon is naked as a slate, impossible to write on or ignore.
How did Sappho arrange her hair? When and for whom did she let it down?
Tell me what we are— now, tonight, and then make it true. [End Page 93]
Motion Harmony #2
The pears that dropped from the failing tree are pale bronze with sunlit copper spots.
Rotting in the grass. Already riddled with wasps.
By pear I mean pear, not a buzzing, riddled heart. At least I think I do.
The flesh of it laid bare by the intricate, steady work of mouth. The tunneling collapsing passageways. [End Page 94]
Motion Harmony #4
Harvest is past—
what the moon says to herself at the start of another autumn night.
Nothing will be saved.
The moon a doorknob to a dark so large no one can see it. [End Page 95]
Inscription in the Book, Invisible Ink
It must have been you in the back of my mind
all along: I imagine you selecting an apple, setting it down
without taking a bite, my poems open on your lap,
the easy way you concentrate but just as easily drift.
The effect I wanted might not come across:
where I put a caesura, or when a line breaks into another
is not as luminous— in spite of my obsessiveness—
as I hoped it could be. I can’t explain the difference
between longing and fear, how to tell them apart;
when to give over to pleasure. [End Page 96]
The empty tracks of the commuter rail, the grimy cement platform, the stairs.
No one else is here.
A few gray feathers drift, some coarse, some soft, a few tufts cling to the curb
and then more touch my shoes, so many, it’s impossible not to step back, to look up—
a falcon on the overhang, absorbed, methodical, taking a pigeon apart.
She holds the body in place with her talon, plying the hook of her beak.
Which weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of lead? [End Page 97]
In the knifelike cold of March, they’re waiting it out,
bleak as abandoned forts: they don’t know when or whether
any beaked and flying thing will return to their hubs
in sticks and rotted leaves, the dried glue of droppings.
Abraded by ropes of wind, unwilling, unable to come apart,
they are the old, disheveled walls of the dark they keep inside;
it’s as if they never were charged with birth and hunger,
or an ear-cup to the fledgling cries that pierced the clouds. [End Page 98]
Jennifer Barber is the author of Given Away and Rigging the Wind, both published by Kore Press. Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, the Gettysburg Review, Upstreet, Post Road, Orion and elsewhere. She teaches literature and creative writing at Suffolk University in Boston, where she is founding and current editor of the literary journal Salamander.