Back to Issue Twenty-Seven.

At Present



as in days I fall asleep before dusk,

when the blue difference between

two things is still plausible.

And wake after dawn, the blood

already mopped from the floors,

the sink already scoured. So much

is possible in my absence

that when I wake, I’m delighted,

lighter, prone to a crack of real laughter,

a snake run through me like a wire.

Or like a snake run through with a wire

run though me. As in I’m relieved,

can ease the tautness of my mouth

around the finger of the world.

The work of the conscious is risk,

plunging a hand into the red seagrass

to pull up a string of oysters, or taking

down from the mantle my mother’s pottery

for dusting, oil lamp by oil lamp.

Jane Huffman has an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa, where she is currently an instructor for the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY, the New Yorker, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. She is editor-in-chief of Guesthouse, a literary journal. Twitter @janechuffman.

Photo credit: Sandra L. Dyas.


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