To Peel Sod or Muck in Reed Roots with Catfish Bellies
and find something wonderful to believe, and believe it’s for me
if I just hold my hands out like this. To find it not in the sidewalk’s
smell or in the riotous emptiness we’ve retrained through LCDs.
To find that one thing unbought: the snap of your heel
at the threshold; cold water’s quench in the nighttime; your old
perfume bottle from drawer deep. To hold, to be held, pick wonder
as a crab from between the rocks with seaweed. Find it, claws and all—
a glimpse of pink. Hold it and see that this could rule me instead.
Cranes Nesting Again in Unpaved Wetlands
When you read to me of another Celsius endpoint passed, I have trouble
rightly arranging my face. I should only show sadness, but after us also means
more landbound birds, more kids standing, fresh from the womb on four
graceless legs, to climb the cliff-face rather than into a pen. Such wonder
we’ll leave behind, if we’re quick enough to destroy us without destroying
all the rest first. I do want us to hold on until my children get to show
their children a wren, but I’m jealous of those last few who, at the start
of our unpreying after, will witness how easy the world lives without us.
CJ Evans reads “To Peel Sod…”
CJ Evans reads “Cranes Nesting”
CJ Evans is the author of A Penance (New Issues Press), and The Category of Outcast, selected by Terrance Hayes for the Poetry Society of America’s chapbook fellowship. He’s received the Amy Lowell Scholarship, and co-edited, with Brenda Shaughnessy, Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House. He’s also the editorial director of Two Lines Press, which publishes leading contemporary literature in translation.