After the sewage flowed into the seaand took the oxygen away, the fishes fled,but the jellies didn’t mind. They stayedand ate up the food the fishes left behind.I sat on the beach in my red pajamasand listened to the sparkling foam,like feelings being fustigated. Nearby,a crayfish tugged on a string. In the distance,a man waved. Unnatural cycles seemed to beestablishing themselves, without regard to our lives.Deep inside, I could feel a needle skip: Autumn dark. Murmur of the saw. Poor humans.
Copyright © 2019 by Henri Cole
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Henri Cole was born in Fukuoka, Japan. He has published nine collections of poetry, including Middle Earth, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. He has received many awards for his work, including the Jackson Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award, the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, the Lenore Marshall Award, and the Medal in Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His most recent book is Orphic Paris (New York Review Books), a memoir, and a new collection of poetry, Blizzard, is forthcoming in September from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He teaches at Claremont McKenna College and lives in Boston.
Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Harriet Monroe’s “Open Door” policy, set forth in Volume I of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry’s mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre, or approach.