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Elegy

Sean O’Brien

‘It seems there's no such thing as history. / We must have dreamed the world you've vanished from.’

End of the Pier Show

Michael Hofmann

‘They were fascinated / by what they seemed to have contained.’

Endpapers

Adrienne Rich

‘Consider yourself / a trombone blowing unheard.’

Eternities

Charles Simic

‘Could they be the same person?’

Fabric

Richard Meier

‘At midnight on our third and final date / I stepped inside her Edwardian conversion / to find a stripped-pine, bookless space.’

Face to Face

Tomas Tranströmer

ʻThe birds refused to fly and the soul / grated against the landscape.ʼ

Flying Towards a Country of Rain

Wang Yin

‘Paper phantoms sit beside me / watching a two-hour movie.’

Fortunate It Is If Her Skirts Do Not Catch Fire

Amy Gerstler

‘I must remember god is not my private / secretary.’

Four Poems

Peter Robinson

‘I swelter in the dusk / and chase the flies, abstractedly, / until I half forget them.’

from Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues

Ronald Sukenick

‘She was visibly ageing you could tell / that soon it was going to be a long / desperate race between cellulite and silicone’.

From the Flood Plain

Jamie McKendrick

‘No flood as parched as this’

Handkerchief

Ghassan Zaqtan

‘Nothing’s left to say between us / everything went / into the train that hid its whistle.’

Hang It Up

Anne Carson

‘hang up your blood cell phone mr white slaver’

High Table

Craig Raine

‘The inescapable smoke of her gown’

How Long is the Coast of Britain?

Jynne Martin

‘It is the hour for farewells. It is the hour.’

How to Get Over Someone You Love

Adam Fitzgerald

‘Would you like to come with me for some / old-fashioned inconclusive combat?’

I had wondered about the signs of burning

John Kinsella

‘None of it made sense. The house shows / no signs – the old core of the house as it is now – / of fire, of giving up the ghost.’

In the Village

Derek Walcott

‘I came up out of the subway and there were / people standing on the steps as if they knew / something I didn’t.’

In the village of the mothers

Vénus Khoury-Ghata

‘The wells are kept for the use of the dead who splash the / walls with their silence.’

Inheritance

Sadaf Halai

‘It made the sound of / a small balloon dropping.’

Krapp Hour

Anne Carson

‘Funny to end up here you may think, in this line of work, did I back into it, well more or less.’

Linked

Ruth Ozeki

‘old poems, like polished stones, / tumbled words to break my teeth on.’

Meeting the psychiatrist’s wife

Lorraine Mariner

‘The psychiatrist’s wife / has a dress the colour / of that bottle of claret / you shouldn’t have drunk / last night.’

Midnight on Lake Michigan

Diego Báez

‘But really, your disappearance / has never been a question of whether.’

Nature Study: Spots

Kay Ryan

‘Like something / that might also / happen in the head,’

Never did amount to anything

Dorothea Lasky

‘Hi there, dear sister, I’m sad / But here to tell you / That you never did amount to anything’

Oak

Jamie McKendrick

‘When my father saw an advert in the Echo / for a big house at a peppercorn rent / he rang.’

Observations on the Ground

Mary Ruefle

‘Those flowers belong to the dead.’

On Jupiter Place

Nicholas Christopher

‘I didn’t know who she was anymore / maybe I never did or could –’

Opening Invocation

Jean-Paul de Dadelsen

‘Or otherwise, leaving the shore of the intermediate sea, / has it been a while since they’ve gone ahead / into the interior of lands of the spirit?’