archives winter 2008



International postage coupon

(I received your communiqué

        speaking of elephants
        on their knees in some unknowable

                the death of stars)

We are alone
        in the universe, you
                said, in bags
                of skin, millions of miles

between atoms
        there is only beauty
                to touch us
                it survives voyages
                        no test animal could make

We send it occasionally: photographs
        of women praying in cathedrals, ear’s fine-haired edge.

        this body is a galaxy to what’s inside it)


Night walk

St. Eustache:            

        :streetkids holding up signs, one girl bent on the shoulder of the other one

        :this is the park at Les Halles

        :just that everyone has a lot of hunger in them and not all of us can ask like that

For hands                                paper birds             For the holes

in sky where birds used to be    a train schedule      You cannot offer

a body with sweetness              built in                   You are only

a girl     between places                                        Is there another flight

this afternoon or                               has it all gone now      I swear while we were sleeping

two bulbs blossomed  

        :walking at night, first sound, then—
        :nothing is that isn’t touched by us
                                                       waves      pavement     particles

In movie theater’s humid air              It’s likely     to unfold like always

bone calling to bone                          body           warm air over salt water

hands equal birds                             worse          hungry animals  wolves


Second language

Who knows when it started but it was whistling all around the empty spaces before long

The way something bad whistles, like a woman
You know she ought not to be: she is

Overnight the sky turned into gray flannel and descended onto earth
All filling up the space in between, tip of the basilica baited wading into cloud

If we can’t have the long line, the long lunch hour, the long legbones there is something wrong
           with this world

The infidelity carved itself on mountain
It was a train line and it ran over animals

No one noticed; numbers covered by blanked paper, last five digits missing

There was nothing grave about it, just a rucksack full of no and cemeteries extending
           toothed plots to the gate

We had seven centuries of watching women burn on stakes made by our hands
Winter days and now wrath upon us  


Éireann Lorsung is the author of Music for Landing Planes By (Milkweed Editions, 2007). Her poems have been featured at Verse Daily, and appear or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Crab Creek Review, and Caffeine Destiny. She received her MFA in writing and BA degrees in English and Japanese from the University of Minnesota. She studied printmaking and drawing at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy, and taught high school in rural France. Her web site, ohbara.com, features her clothing line and handmade objects.