My friend / / / is an accident / / / had one/ / /with his lover / / / went through / / / with the impact / / /now there / / / is another / / / Another / / /halved home / / / Another/ / / shaved dog / / /Another / / / cocked box / / / of cold sanitized / / /trophies / / / survived/ / / by a rivalry/ / /somebody / / / lost / / / The newspapers / / /say / / / our news / / / is a fire / / /a hostel / / / told not / / / to keep feeding / / /the cops / / / green-eyed / / / in a field / / /of bright sub- / / / urban cubicles / / / Bathed / / /in filleted / / / arterial / / / cadence / / /I drive / / / toward the light / / / and arrive / / /at a hospital / / / broken / / / too late / / /for full rate / / / validation / / / To the nurses / / /I say / / / we are locked / / / in a garden / / /savaged / / / by frost / / / but lousy / / /with rabbits / / / To me/ / / they say / / /we are terrible / / / ships / / / no berth / / /for our crew / / / or use / / / in the proof / / /So I draw / / / the burst night / / / bound down / / /on the water / / / a cradle / / / knife-sliced / / /then gowned / / / to the sea / / / I point / / /to a bird/ / / slight bite in its gather / / / the dark's / / /one spark / / / cheap caving / / / ovation / / /we leave / / / the cathedral / / / to burn it all / / /down / / /
From American Parables by Daniel Khalastchi.
Reprinted by permission of the University of Wisconsin Press.
© 2021 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
All rights reserved.
Daniel Khalastchi is an Iraqi Jewish American and the author of three books—Manoleria (Tupelo Press), Tradition (McSweeney’s), and American Parables (University of Wisconsin Press, winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry). A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, his poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Cleveland Review of Books, Granta, The Iowa Review, and Paper Brigade. Daniel currently lives in Iowa City where he directs the University of Iowa’s Magid Center for Writing. He is the cofounder and managing editor of Rescue Press.
“A book of love poems, honest love poems. All of Khalastchi’s well-wrought declarations make clear that love only occurs in the midst of survival. His poetry reclaims an exact and exacting language for joy in the midst of a capitalist state that does not require it.”
— Jericho Brown, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Tradition
“There is something miraculous and vital in the art Khalastchi makes of it all: the complicated humor of cat and mouse; the courage of elegy; the fulfillingness of matrimony; the reasons that love won’t disappear. Khalastchi has always been a shining star in the world of poetry, and this collection cements his place in the firmament.”
— D. A. Powell, author of Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys
“Daniel Khalastchi offers a perspective informed partially by his identity as the descendant of Iraqi Jews. . . . [He] conveys in carefully crafted language and wry humor the fraught and alienating political atmosphere of the United States, as well as the moments and relationships that deliver hope and meaning against that backdrop.”
— The Jewish News of Northern California