Across the river her voice sends shreds
torn from something gelid, all acute
angles though the surface of each call
is fur and dust. That last body a wraith
of small bones leaning forward whether
to blow her curses out or suck her souls
back in, it’s hard to say. In practice today
the coxswain’s miked. Degraded sound,
a scene with unidentified
afterlives shrieking on background.
I saw the bursts
of drives pulling her between recoveries,
her profile pausing against the far bank
as it raced along, hard to see.



This city with its circulatory
root allows you to turn the time halfway
around to face the other way, and so look
back as though you were the one
you were eating with at that hour
your mouth full of her thoughts
when refugees are weaned in camps
and feeling as never before
with the distinctness of tiny folds
at the edges of documents seen
cascading back into the distance
where one of them must be
the first to vanish
what was wanted of you

Jana Prikryl is the author of the poetry collections No Matter and The After Party. She is a senior editor at The New York Review of Books.

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