You are in the diode archives diode v8n1



The Mirror Stage

In a final fête of pain, earth scars itself
with Indian pipe and crabapple, carapaces

of reverse tenderness, and like a girl pleading
to crueler things: an arrant hand, those trees.

The biggest welt of all as seen from above
is our little river. Beside it, at a reclaimed lot

just south of town, we watch an employee
of the Audubon Center bend down, his hands

in latex, bundling a dead wren in a blossom
of paper towel. Windows that face the water

are stuck with spasms of black stickers shaped
like birds as seen through tear blur, meant

to stop birds from flying into glass: birds into
birds: but they do by the misery every year.



Catalogued in leaves, first the wounding
heliotrope, next Walhalla’s blood ravine,

highest level of existence, say the Vikings.
On the corner of Walhalla and Midgard,

a house for sale, advertised: Not Haunted,
looms its cupola like a ram’s horn

in a god’s hand. Not haunted—a double negative
on otherwise positive acreage, and where

Walhalla’s light combs out the wood,
all our un-haunted houses on their hills

look down at their one road. Not haunted:
like gazing the wrong way through binoculars,

to see smallness instead, and distance,
but how can we stop, through Walhalla’s

phantasmagoria of October rot, our living
real estate’s spectral impoverishment,

and what cost Walhalla if living so near
Heaven is living with its heavenly lack too:

non-ghost in the kitchen, non-ghost
on the stair, your honeyed roast in the oven,

your hot face in the bathroom mirror,
non-ghost, your non-child, swaddled in

the papered nursery, and if you look
past yourself you might see him there.


Deep Ecology

After class we took the number ____
from Haymarket so we might see horses
among the elms at Acton. Past
horses among the elms rose a silver skull.
Around it grew the fetlock,
the pastern, pasture, and stone. We knew,

if cantors sang animals, not hymns,
they are hymnals: those horses
among the elms at Acton.

We’d come alone to be away
from the city to see horses,
as if purchase in any dirt is this true.
More hare than horse, as if
all prey is. Night’s burden
to canonize sky by committee
fails again, and again, each night, again
across the steppe by lamentation.
Hoarfrost stitched an ice stallion.

An ice ache felled the white horse like
a white birch, as if the no one, as if
the never. If the white ear flicks backward to hear
the stinging fly sing on its flank, for all
the white world, we are chalk a great hand draws with,
as if the problem is an outline
of a white horse on slate and we must
with the hill and the plain solve it.  


Lesley Jenike’s newest collection is Holy Island (Goldwake, 2014). Even newer poems have been published or are forthcoming soon in Waxwing, Cave Wall, Passages North, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Natural Bridge. She teaches at the Columbus College of Art and Design and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and daughter.