Three Poems

by Seth Jani



That place where memory sits

Is a kind of ragged bone,

A clearing in the forest

Where the moon floats over

Illuminating snow.

It is the spot

We used to call the soul,

A depository of light and shadow,

Of years burnt low with love.

It is the place where life is born

Blind and absolute,

The hunting ground of nostalgia

With his long, blue bow.

It is where we sometimes set out

To meet the secrets of creation,

And upon arrival find a child

With our name

Spinning a small and perfect thread

As the darkness turns.


I want to enter fully into midnight,

The bookish dark of winter,

The unhewn plentitude

Poked through with stars

And treetops.

I want to carry the singing

Into my own unlit body,

The primitive anthem of

Birds at dusk,

The cricket’s carol of sundown,

Each moving through my blood

Homebound on its reddened current.

I want to believe that I can embrace

As fruitfully as sunlight

The strange interior of earth,

Can find my own black portal

And lay down with that bruised

Underworldly music.

An orphic ear cocked to listen.

A shuddering heart native to the dark.

Freight Train

Synchronous light, hedging up the horizon

Like bulwark on the ship of death.

And the commodious apple of the brain

Shrank in winter’s white-wan climate,

Shriveled electric slag with its stem

Stripped out.

This is how the body goes,

Quiet piecemeal dark

And images, top-heavy,

Like someone’s rain-filled fountain.

In spring we will be the damp odors

Rising from the earth,

Like resins fuming in the trees

Our festival will be unmarked

And unattended,

But marvelously ablaze!

So many flowers come out of nothing

Like dreams in the dorveille dark

Of the drunken sleeper

Or notes left hanging

After the pianist and his machine

Are blown into the kingdom.  

When we die rhododendrons will burst

From our skulls like someone’s bright idea,

Like a freight train from the other world

Tunneling through our final thoughts

And marrow.

Seth Jani resides in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven Circle Press. His own work has appeared throughout the small press market in such places as The Foundling ReviewThe Hamilton Stone Review, Hawai`i Pacific ReviewGingerbread House and Gravel. His most recent collection, Questions from the Interior, can be read online here.

2 thoughts on “Three Poems

  1. Awesome poems, Seth! “Freight Train” is definitely my favourite poem out of the three.

    Funnily enough, my photography has also been featured in “Gravel”.

  2. Hello Teigan!
    Thanks for the kind words, I’m glad you liked the poems. And actually I was thinking how your name seemed familiar and I realized that I recognize you from you poem (He Whom I Loved and this is not a love poem) in The Blue Bonnet Review. A very beautiful and clever poem that I greatly enjoyed.

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