Tenuous Paradise

Jacob Boyd

Between bouts of being hounded by agents of the Mega Energy supply                company—men calling from Mumbai or Bengalaru who identify                themselves without the sound of a smirk as John Marshall and Harry                Johnson—I am enjoying a blotch of days off.Kind of. I have felt self-hushed for a few days now. On walks, I whisper to                the dogs c'mon, this way. Soft commands. Barely above suggestion.Swaths of tan-green helicopter seeds pile onto the sidewalks and into the                windshield wells. The sunlight pulses in that passing-over-of-clouds                manner. We circle the block.Back home, a breeze too slight to feel fills the sheer curtains.I'm reminded of jellyfish billowing in their tank at the aquarium. A sign next                to them calls what the jellies do—their movement—passive energy                recapture.It only works at low speeds.No one believes me when I tell them I'm working.

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Jacob Boyd lives in Chicago with his girlfriend, Katie, and their two dogs, Sappho and Sir Isaac Newton. He recently graduated from the PhD Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is now a Visiting Lecturer. He also holds an MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

"'It is not for me to imagine what passes/between a cow and a Pekingese noticing each other/in the spring snow, across an electric fence,' Jacob Boyd assures us in his Frost-inspired 'One Looks at Two.' But this poet's concern not to overreach—to avoid an overly easy recourse to personification or the sublime—is in concert with his commitment to lyrical accuracy. In poem after poem, he rakes this imperative not only to animals wild and domesticated, but also to friends, neighbors, and an American landscape as vivid and tactile as 'a hallway through Oklahoma, nightlights, a Mustang, a map in the from matter.' Boyd 's companionable voice will bring you readily along for the ride. But he is also the maker of startlingly, seriously astute and beautiful poems. He's a poet who wears his lyricism lightly. But this Stilt House, while intentionally humble, is architecture built on nerve and lyrical air."
—Christina Pugh

"Jacob Boyd is a watcher and he has a way of bringing the unexpected out of the ordinary that is all the more striking because he is, like William Stafford and Carl Dennis, essentially a quiet, meditative poet. His accomplishments are the accomplishments of stealth, of a sneaky brilliance that again and again comes upon the transformative line, the astonishing insight, and turns back to us and waves, without making too much of it. With Stilt House, he has given us a glimpse of a sanity and balance that our poetry badly needs."
—Rodney Jones

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