By J. Allyn Rosser
Go home. It’s never what you think it is,
The kiss, the diamond, the slamdance pulse in the wrist.
Nothing is true, my dear, not even this
Rumor of passion you’ll doubtless insist
On perceiving in my glance. Please just
Go. Home is never what you think it is.
Meaning lies in meaning’s absence. The mist
Is always almost just about to lift.
Nothing is truer. Dear, not even this
Candle can explain its searing twist
Of flame mounted on cool amethyst.
Go on home—not where you think it is,
But where you would expect its comfort least,
In still-black stars our century will miss
Seeing. Nothingness is not as true as this
Faith we grind up with denial: grist
To the midnight mill; morning’s catalyst.
Come, let’s go home, wherever you think it is.
Nothing is true, my dear. Not even this.
J. Allyn Rosser was born in Pennsylvania and attended Middlebury College in Vermont earned a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. Her works include Bright Moves (1990), winner of the Morse Poetry Prize; Misery Prefigured (2001), winner of the Crab Orchard Award; Foiled Again (2007), winner of The New Criterion Poetry Prize; and Mimi's Trapese (2014). Her poetry has also been published in such periodicals as The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, and Ninth Letter. Rosser is a member of the faculty at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
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Back Up Quick They’re Hippies
That was the year we drove
into the commune in Cornwall.
“Jesus Jim,” mam said,
“back up quick they’re hippies.”
Through the car window,
tents, row after row, flaps open,
long-haired men and women
curled around each other like babies
and the babies themselves
wandered naked across the grass.
In the warmth of night I put feet to my plan: waited
for my brothers to sleep. They’d spent the day
sharpening their hooks, repairing the great net,
filling gourds with fresh water. They’d bundled
taro wrapped in leaves sitting below the cross seats.