Back to Issue Twenty-Nine.



In the good old days I lived « not » in a house 

made of • money; a « invisible » house • of my own 

making. The bombs fell • around me, « all » always 

around me, but always an ungovernable distance

away. In those days • like a bird « I lived » alighting 

on the branch of a blighted tree; I • I belong 

ed everywhere and « knew » I seeded my furrows, 

nourished my future’s home, by drone. Or nowhere 

was where I be | longed, among others our • unfolded 

like furniture delivered flat as « lives » an unopened 

book from factories in an | other world. We were « good » 

celestial bodies back in the • old days, our orbit enrapt

ured by signals reflected back from small stars, and our 

children returned from their orbital wonders moneyed • one 

« in ways » couldn’t touch, younger in star-time than when 

they’d first left, speaking language only not-them knew.





To know a thing is to desire it, as Esau’s hide-

bound brother knew, or the lustful sons of Sodom looking up 

and down the hard bodies of • Desire makes us 

« those handsome angels. » into a brushfire, an ouroboros 

of flame ever devouring even itself. Gripped by a lion’s tamer 

like its hoop: us, which the beast might leap 

through the flaming portal of « ourselves » yet (like a brushfire 

or • ) entirely ordinary until turned inferno • en « roiling and thunder

ous » gorged on several proximal towns. Or Moses before the burning

bush, crying out in age-old complaint, Why

me? Moses before the staff slipped from his hand, snake • at the Pharaoh

’s « writhing » feet. Or as a serpent might • in leisure « lie » across a hard-

hewn path made in traffic of humankind. On packed dirt

 it suns itself, tail concealed in the wild’s thicket-shade, its « fine-

boned » torso • as a caught fish at rest in civil society

’s gaze: green-blooded in waiting for a • angel come 

« foretold » to cut the creature’s head off with a hoe.

Miriam Bird Greenberg is a poet with a fieldwork-derived practice. The author of In the Volcano’s Mouth, winner of the 2015 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and the recipient of fellowships from the US National Endowment for the Arts, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and the Poetry Foundation, she’s at work on a book about the economic migrants and asylum seekers of Hong Kong’s Chungking Mansions. Most recently she has been a writer-in-residence at the National University of Singapore, and at the Jan Michalski Foundation in Switzerland. These poems are forthcoming in The Other World, which won the 2019 Center for Book Arts limited-edition letterpress chapbook prize.  


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