Poetica Magazine

Poetica Magazine

by Nat Bottigheimer  


Day to day utters speech,and night to night relates knowledge

     --- Perek Shira


They sing of the sacrosanct,

hardly in a hurry, clinging to sensation

against earth’s dark. Gwen’s drunk—

her thick, round glasses thrown

sideways by laughter, and Paul’s

Gehugnis is heavy-stained with ale.

They trade stories about the page,

how it watches over them with eyes

of loved ones long gone but whose

voices remain and join their own.

Gwen concedes this, hearing

of lost will in barbs where a pulse

dares the counterbeat.

Paul can imagine himself as a shining

joy, as a mother dancing with her son

in a light only they can see or the whole

of Bronzeville can see burning

element-rich inside a soul too

broke to pay the electric.

This meeting is about the word—

sensation exchanged by mouth, by ear

among people needing to find themselves

in the dark and to lose them all over again.

Can you hear light breaking through

their lips like scarlet through the blue hour?

Do you mind its slow, passionate progress,

how it breaks over this earth?

The meeting is not real—yet, here I am,

and here you are, speaking and hearing

songs sung at the edge of light.


About the author

Christopher Morris is a professor at York University in Toronto, Canada, where he teaches creative and professional writing. His poems have previously appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Northwest Review, and Transition Magazine. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from The Ohio State University.