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The Elephants

Two Poems

Joseph Massey


Those concatenated
husks of ice
that line the lawn’s
edge, far-
lapping shadows
(narrow, as if
scratched into
snow’s scum-
pocked surface).
Give the day
its sign, some
emblem, to
read our-
selves out
of past
into place. No
world without
delineation. No
thing until
into its word.
Carpenter ant
navigates a knot
on an elm stump
and vanishes
through a cavity
of rot. Sight
is lost to sight.
At the border
between seasons
air’s grainy with
light’s lengthening.
Listen to an hour
shift shape, how
it contains
sonic detritus
in a dream-thin
frame, slush
spun under tires,
a church bell’s
high note
bent above
dusk folding
the corners in.


fence along the tracks
fenced in with overgrowth

as long
as the light


white moth spins
over bricks

with new graffiti


as afterimage
what sticks
to the inner eye

abandoned warehouse windows’

bare bulbs graze

Joseph Massey is the author of Illocality (Wave Books, 2015), among many other books. He lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts.

This originally appeared on April 16, 2017