In the Land Between Sex and Conception
there are no trees, save
the shadows of trees, and words
that roll their shadows to root.
Whatever line will divide
the earth from the sky
hasn’t yet squinted its sight
down the globe. The wind lulls
in translucent coils
but unrolls to release all the birds.
The beasts nest in their own
thought balloons. And you—
unborn notion, no skin
yet to float on—do you lounge
here near oceans still learning
to pool? Or are you dispersed
like so many concertgoers
awaiting the music’s faint cry?
It will come, it will come
to where the rivers now run
like dreams in the grooves of a knife.
is the author of two collections from Saturnalia Books, Other Romes
(2011) and The Identity Thief
(forthcoming, 2018), and the poetry editor at Mantis: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism, & Translation
. He recently completed a PhD at Stanford University, writing on marriage in the lives and afterlives of Whitman and Dickinson. A former Axton Poetry Fellow at the University of Louisville and Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, he now lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and son. He has received the Editors’ Choice Prize from the Missouri Review
and two Hopwood Awards. New poetry, criticism, and translations have appeared (or will soon appear) in the Kenyon Review, Poetry Northwest, Printer’s Devil Review
, Laurel Review
, Chariton Review
, Lunch Ticket
, and the Gettysburg Review.
He can be reached at www.derekmong.com.