Back to Issue Thirty-Four

Kafka in Fenâ Fillah


Finalist for the 2020 Adroit Prize for Poetry


 The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy the heavens.
This is doubtlessly so, but proves nothing against heaven, for heaven…

—Franza Kafka, The Zürau Aphorisms (1918) 

As if Sodom could be undone
	in the migration of crows. As if ash
		rowed out on the little black boats
			of their bodies
				each October—

				:: For heaven

My ghost sleeping with my lover’s
	ghost. Soho sheathed in basalt. Touch-
		stone. All you lovers and your little human
			wings. All you sooty friends
				of Lot.

			For heaven :: means

Smoky-eye. Sodom, or Soho. The makeup brushes
	wet with chrome and our two faces
		mirrored. If my lover looks at me so
			heaven machines
				between us.
		For heaven means :: precisely
A clink of scalpels in the music, this
	too being chrome—a chorus—being
		beyond our bodies in their dive
			and chatter. Eyelets and a flock
				of eyes.
		For heaven means :: precisely
Smoked glass. A flock of eyes,
	or Argus in his boa of black quills.
		I watch my lover dip
			into me then dip again
				into the watching.
	For heaven means precisely :: impossibility

As when crows make the sky their Babel,
	talking backward:
		each I another drop up into the mirror-
			lake where I reverse myself
				in you.
For heaven means precisely impossibility :: of crows
[               the glass lake
     where October flies
                  between us on its little
                                      black boats     ]

Leyla Çolpan is the co-creator of What Passes & What Passes Through (Ghost City Press, 2020), a chapbook of poetry and visual art, with artist Sasha Barile. Ze was an inaugural Creative Arts Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, where hir work on multiethnicity was awarded an Academy of American Poets Undergraduate Prize, and ze is the winner of the 2020 Gulf Coast Prize for Poetry, judged by Kazim Ali. Hir work appears recently in The Adroit Journal, Columbia Journal, and Homology Lit.


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