Back to Issue Thirty-Seven


2021 Gregory Djanikian Scholar in Poetry


Andrea taught me to ride sidesaddle. I rode
in small and dizzying circles around her.
I rode around her in small and dizzying
circles. Past the mirror and past the mirror
where, one summer, she was reared off
by a stallion attacking his own flaring
reflection. One summer, she was reared
off, or almost. I rode into the acres
of our sunflowers. In the acres, the fields,
I overindulged in beauty. In the fields,
I rode. Andrea leaned on a rail, her body
a rail. Andrea leaned on the shadow
of a rail. My shadow rode around her,
the small bells of my intuition. She rang
the small bells of the saddle. I was
small and dizzying. I was dizzy. I rode
in small and dizzying circles. Andrea
taught me to ride, no stirrups. Nothing
suspending my body but intuition, the small
and dizzying circles of my body.
My intuition rode around me in small
and dizzying circles, her shadow riding
circles around me. I called her Andrea.



The Rest

2021 Gregory Djanikian Scholar in Poetry


Still, I keep myself, I take
to bed. One lung is red. Cut red
flowers hung in pink water.

My other lung is out of line.
From one lung, I tell the truth.
From the other lung, I lie.
Cut pink flowers hung in red water.

Like a pain, the truth is mine.
The lie is that today I want to die.
Cut red water hung in pink flowers.

The rest of it is stillness, rest.
A soft cough into a hard pan.
A hard cough into a soft plane.
Cut pink water hung in red flowers.



Later Fragments

2021 Gregory Djanikian Scholar in Poetry


I hid away from privacy in privacy,
beneath the question of the self.

Has the mail come yet?

Has he come yet with the mail? Has the mail?
The mail? Why am I always boiling?


I waited for the poem,
watched the beam-shape shadows
of the meters sway from east to west.

The line-shaped shadows of the posts.
The pole-shaped shadows of the people.

The man-shaped shadows of the trees.


I sat with the poem like a man,
before scrutiny, during scrutiny,

after scrutiny. Waited for the birth,
the afterbirth.


There wasn’t wisdom in it,
but I waited like I was waiting in a line: in iterations

of myself, impatient, needling,
needing badly to pee and so peeing.


Like waiting for a breath of white
smoke from the conclave, a signal
that the democratic experiment

has succeeded. Like waiting for black smoke

from the conclave
when the democratic
experiment has failed. The democratic

experiment has failed.


I waited for the personal,
ate bean soup from a chipped bowl.

Note: “Ode” previously appeared in The New Yorker, and “The Rest” previously appeared in POETRY. We are grateful to reprint these poems as part of Jane Huffman’s Djanikian Scholars portfolio.

Jane Huffman‘s poems have appeared in POETRY, The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, Annulet, and elsewhere, and she was a 2019 recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Jane is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently works for the Iowa Youth Writing Project. She is founder and editor-in-chief of Guesthouse (, an online literary journal.

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