PoetryIssue 09 | May 2010

Two poems by Jacqueline West

Friday, 3 p.m., British Museum

They are gone now. 
We’ve stripped their graves.
The coffins gape like cracked nutshells.

Our breath fogs the glass; ancient works disappear
under a cloud of our own crowding.
We lap their undone burial.

Middle-aged matrons in sunglasses and twill
lean sweaty hands on rock rims of sarcophagi,
fanning creased necks with free brochures
and saying it’s hot in eight languages. 

Coins jumbled in cases, sweating cups of cold tea,
the Rosetta glancing blandly from its cage.
The way our shoulders make a tomb.

The upturned catacombs gleam with fluorescence,
tilted troves lined up, bones polished.
The neatly restored feet that stand once again. 

There is not enough air.  We suck it like ice,
spit it out carved in hard alphabets. 
Our words chip at the broken marble. 
The blur of our tongues melts the stone.

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About the author

Jacqueline West lives amid the bluffs of eastern Minnesota.  Her favorite trips involve opportunities to explore crumbly old cemeteries and drink lots of unusual coffee. Her work has appeared in places such as flashquake, Inkwell Journal, The Pedestal Magazine, and St. Ann’s Review. You can find Jacqueline here.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok