Emily Nguyen


February in Jersey

Each day, you end as you begin:
Stepping into another garment.
Perhaps the dressmakers battle.

And yet the scene is one of peace.
The old world is changing shape.

Skaters cut out a map
On ice for my thought to follow.
Thirsty shapes. As borders rearrange,

the old world includes
iced coffee, the year of the dog,

the steady trucking of complaint.
With each roll of the bolt
the material past lengthens.

Balance! Screams the sideways
location of self. Your words are florid,

orchidose. Each thought
comes out red and yelling,
like a baby.

The buzzard air picks
at the body of snow.

Life rebels against the forms.
You have brought me up
too far, it says.
I am not a happy medium.

Perhaps the dressmakers battle.
Yet the scene if one of peace.

Each day
you end as you begin,
stepping into
another garment.

How am I
to follow you?

In the whirl
and blossom
this spoke:
your carriage.

As in the language
of multiples

The wheel of three
and three and three-
and all it carries.

In verse, the infant Spring.
A particular complaint.

And then, motility.
In the sky’s cumulus
all is pre and post

and new wave.
The garment of the day

becomes itself,
stretches out
until the evening change.

One arm begins to press
into the sleeve of night.

Emily Nguyen was born in Madison Wisconsin She has an MA in Comparative Literature and in Japanese Language and Literature and has been a member of US1 since 1991. Her poem “The Hamlet Ophelia Letters” will come out in an upcoming issue of ARS-Interpres.

Published in: on April 7, 2007 at 9:54 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I love the extended metaphor, and particular images are memorable, such as the “buzzard air pick[ing] at the body of snow.” The final couplet is an image new to me, and perfectly fitted to this poem — beautiful.

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