Readings — From the January 2020 issue

An Instant of Nowhere

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From “Translating Paul Blackburn,” published in The Next Loves, a collection of poetry that was released in September by Nightboat Books. Translated from the French by Lindsay Turner.

Finally I gave up
                   overwhelmed
counting the powerful ankles
in this city, even the ones behind which
I’m walking right now

ultra-blond          •          super-rivery

if only he knew: it would take so little
to be saved but ok

I just go straight to dinner—
the building bizarrely lost
in an instant of nowhere
between the R
                          and nothing

night falls the wind
picks up the storm          we close the windows
tip out buckets of second-light

we eat blueberries we listen
to the voices of Paul and Frank

and why have I
suddenly a mouthful of tears

for not having known

how to protect them?    from death no matter if I wasn’t really
born yet of course
                     (remember the
                     falling rain)
I could have made the effort

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