Of the Inequality that Lies Between Us

The sap stains on the sidewalk are a spring—of blood—from winter’s broken limb—its sign—its song still waiting for its solo to sing, a mistake that repetition makes design. Our apps are hanging—on this happenstance. Our winners only win when it’s a lock. Our quivers quiver in their arrogance. The quarry in our quarry’s just a rock. But your voice—it hangs in fall. I won’t let go. Its fluid body grows harder to recall. A body fading—the voice will fail to grow, enough to feed what’s faded since last fall. Please stay and talk as if you were still real. The angels—I will keep them waiting for my grief. Those voices cast in poems do not feel. They’re paper angels I’ve made for myself.





Benjamin Paloff is the author of the poetry collections And His Orchestra (2015) and The Politics (2011), both from Carnegie Mellon, and the translator of about a dozen books from Czech, Polish, Russian, and Yiddish. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in various publications, including Conduit, Guesthouse, New American Writing, New England Review, and The New York Review of Books. Twice a fellow of the NEA, he is a professor of comparative literature at the University of Michigan, where he is also director of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

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