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Joanna Klink

Joanna Klink is the author, most recently, of The Nightfields (Penguin Books, 2020). Her other poetry collections include Excerpts from a Secret Prophecy (Penguin Books, 2015), Raptus (Penguin Books, 2010), Circadian (Penguin Books, 2007), and They Are Sleeping (University of Georgia Press, 2000). She is teaching at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas.

By This Poet

6

from "3 Bewildered Landscapes”


STARS, SCATTERSTILL. Constellations of people and quiet. 

Those nights when nothing catches, nothing also is artless. 

I walked for hours in those forests, my legs a canvas of scratches,

trading on the old hopes—we were meant to be lost. But being lost

means not knowing what it means. Inside the meadow is the grass,

rich with darkness. Inside the grass is the wish to be rooted, inside the rain

the wish to dissolve. What you think you live for you may not live for. 

One star goes out. One breath lifts inside a crow inside a field.

On Falling (Blue Spruce)

Dusk fell every night. Things
fall. Why should I
have been surprised. 

Before it was possible
to imagine my life
without it, the winds

arrived, shattering air
and pulling the tree
so far back its roots,

ninety years, ripped
and sprung. I think
as it fell it became

unknowable. Every day
of my life now I cannot
understand. The force

of dual winds lifting
ninety years of stillness
as if it were nothing,

as if it hadn’t held every
crow and fog, emptying
night from its branches. 

The needles fell. The pinecones
dropped every hour
on my porch, a constant

irritation. It is enough
that we crave objects,
that we are always

looking for a way
out of pain. What is beyond
task and future sits right

before us, endlessly
worthy. I have planted
a linden, with its delicate

clean angles, on a plot
one tenth the size. Some change
is too great. 

Somewhere there is a field,
white and quiet, where a tree
like this one stands,

made entirely of
hovering. Nothing will
hold me up like that again.