She sank and died—the girl
from out of town that summer.
They pulled her body
like waterweed, then winter came,
enclosed the lake in glass, and sealed
the dark cavern of our questions.We skated on the frozen shell.
All around, the mountains glittered,
chained in ice. The lake was pale blue
and cracked with stars—
We lay on our backs
acquiring a sense of the ordinary.
With the cold driving into our skulls
we watched our breaths rise
and vanish upward into the depths.
Copyright © 2018 by Jenny George
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Jenny George lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her poems have appeared in FIELD, Gulf Coast, Narrative, and Ploughshares, among other publications. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fund, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo Corporation. (Author photo by Clayton Porter)
Winner of the Discovery / Boston Review Poetry Prize
Jenny George’s debut showcases an astonishing poetic talent, a new voice that is intensely focused, patient, and empathic. The Dream of Reason explores the paradoxical relationships between humans and the animals we imagine, keep, fear, and consume. Titled after Goya’s grotesque bestiary, George’s own dreamscape is populated by purring moths, bats that crawl like goblins, and livestock— especially pigs, whose spirit and slaughter inform a central series of portraits. The poems invite moments of stark realism into a spacious, lucid realm just outside of time—finding revelation in stillness, intimacy in violence, and vision in language that lifts from the dark.