Border Song

by Jeff Whitney


To enter the body       you have to walk
under the golden archway     your bags
heavy                your feet blackened
some god expecting      your thanks
It’s a lot to be responsible for
but don’t worry     nothing has something
to do with you    the immense expanding
accordion of space       may some day go
the opposite direction       a terrible music
never heard by any ear        one thousand feet
below water near Chile     there was a sound in 1977
people still talk about      was it
the earth       a cannon shot during the war
of drowned cities?
go ahead       call the forest a jungle
mistake the European honeybee
for a spark      there are so many moons
around Jupiter      who would even notice
if you named one    Black Cherry or Sweet
Water      everyone will cheer wildly
because you mentioned their hometown


Jeff Whitney is the author of five chapbooks, two of which were co-written with Philip Schaefer. Recent poems can be found in 32 Poems, Foundry, Horsethief, Muzzle, Prairie Schooner, Thrush, and Verse Daily. He lives in Portland.