Paloma Yannakakis' poems have appeared in Lana Turner, Washington Square, Afternoon Visitor, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. She holds a PhD in comparative literature from Cornell and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She currently lives and teaches literature in New York.
At the far end of your story,
just like that, an albatross
on trussed-up turf decanting
the ephemeral into
handiwork. I waded in
to watch the strips of wall coming down.
Singed bits collapsing, flying.
Afterwards, it cost little to gaze
up at the black earth and imagine
it was once surrounded
by a velvet night.
Someone tacks sideways with painted rags.
We overturn the chairs one by one
tilted to the side of the wall, casting
no image. Only a triangle finds its way
into the steep light, growing larger.
Pluck one muscle, then the other,
the one at the center surrounding a lake.
It’s low and moves at a thousand paces per hour,
speech piling like straw on water.
I live in Paradox
the dark so dark that
fallen leaves map out the forest ground.
In golden organ
myself another animal
such as this - speechified thing
bidden accident of
leaves made to grapple in
the cold itself -
So I entertain the mist
and write down shapes for words,
words saved, held against some future loss,
rubbing my eyes at the thought of
losing you that held the shield behind the rocks,
tin soldier without pockets.
Searching in the rhododendron bushes
for the past. In its scent we sewed
our skins together. With its cover,
languish the wet face
of all our days. To never bear
the bare arms of a
Journal of Discontent (2)
I slept in the shadow of my waking
the curve of its ash branched
into morning tremor, jay
that jangled. Galloping across my chest
the many-stranded cough, incipient wave.
Wings shadow wings
on the window frame,
landing on the clapboard outside.
When it was no longer possible to pretend
we would escape unscathed, to move an inch
meant the world.
The ground cut away,
sash of remembrance roped to
some forgotten tree at the edge of a