OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 2
Perpetual Country (Plans)
If the theory holds true, whatever that laughing man
in Girona is doing is part of the plan.
I like that: plans. A place called Girona.
Mountains busy with snow.
The sky full of moons.
These clouds are not so different than those ones yesterday they move
and pretend they do not move we move and pretend
it is significant
Bison on the road.
Bison in the dark.
Seven goats on a hillside
wait. One turns up its head.
A passing truck. The sun
waits or appears to wait.
The child between the arc of a rope
waits. A plane traveling hundreds of feet per minute
waits. The dead have nothing to do
so wait. The dead who are tired. Who find themselves
shuffling toward sea as if it were calling.
And for all we know it is.
And for all we know it isn’t.
Perpetual Country (Fairytale)
This land is not your land
but you can place a pony anywhere.
So the street’s all pony-full. The swimming pool
screams with child-mouths who are themselves
half pony. And the trees won’t quit speaking
their dead-fall language, their fruit-dropped-to-mulch-
dead syllables, dead poems written by cave light, dead
drawings of dead horses and children in the corner
who know the universe is shaped exactly like they dream.
And then there were the buffalo people used to march
off of cliffs, eat the heart of the last to fall. Necessary,
it was thought, the way fire is needed to open
new forests from the difficult fists of seeds,
or suns collapsing to form other, broken things.
There are three thousand eight hundred and seven ways
to sing from the wing of this airplane, and all involve falling.
A glass jar filled with marbles. The whole world turning.
Jeff Whitney is the author of The Tree With Lights in it, available from Thrush Press, while Radio Silence (Black Lawrence Press) and Smoke Tones (Phantom Books) were co-written with Philip Schaefer. Other poems of his can be found or found soon in Adroit, Beloit Poetry Journal, Blackbird, Colorado Review, Poetry Northwest, and Verse Daily. He lives in Portland, where he teaches English.