The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2020

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APRIL 2020 Issue
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The Question: what drifts

drifts off—

while history is fixed
  (in fact, is entirely based)
upon that which stays

away—go away, said the wheat; away said the day: the day said:

There's a way that music comes back to you, the beat, comes back in its fray; there's a way that music folds itself into intricate structures

now lost in a pocket—you're sure you put it somewhere—

or put it away
       (go said the lost; lost said the day—

Threshing is about what weighs

and the ways in which that does or does not weigh us down.

So, I'm back to thinking about what gets beaten out of it—

about what flies off from it—

about what the it is

that gets so beaten and all

of us humming under our breath

there's chaff in the air, and it will stay there.


Cole Swensen

Cole Swensen is a poet and a translator. Her most recent book is On Walking On (2017).


The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2020

All Issues