Listen:

Once it’s made. Yesterday
three loquats lay on the ground,
golden as empire.

Lately your voice is tinny, gramophone
cotillion and quadrille. I’m afraid
to turn the record. Dirt blows over

terracotta, up my feet and legs,
devils, devils. More loquats above,
glass tesserae crowning—

somebody. No loss of local boys,
bisque-mild, faces that can outempty
anything, how they drop hard,

cadavers. Nor the reason, unnameable
but as droves toward a feeding purpose.
Trough, crow. When the Spanish

arrived the ocean lay like an
odalisque, and the ribbon-neck sunset.
They did what I wish I could.

Left names. Have I heard correctly.
You were without remove. Oh it’s
a gold rush of expectations this place.

Feature image by Roger Fenton. [Reclining Odalisque], 1858. Salted paper print. From the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Anonymous, Joyce and Robert Menschel, Jennifer and Joseph Duke, and Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Gifts, 1997.

Esther Lin

Esther Lin was a 2015 Poets House Emerging Poet and Queens Council on the Arts Fellow, with poems in or forthcoming in The Cortland Review, Duende, Hyphen, Memorious, Tinderbox, Vinyl, and elsewhere. She teaches in the English Department at Queens College, CUNY, and lives in Jackson Heights, NY.

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