November 22, 2015

Jessica Goodfellow


For preservation, some say salt. Some say ice.

A deer bounds across a meadow, balancing
its bone chandelier: ice.

There are lakes which have islands
which have lakes: ice.

In Wakayama, crows are worshipped
as gods: salt.

Venus rotates backwards, and slowly,
dizzy with the counterclockwise logic of desire.
A day there is longer than a year: salt.

The Japanese have more than 50 words for rain: ice.

Why everyone hates mimes: salt.

When we say refugee crisis, we mean the sum of the parts
refuses to be whole: salt on ice.

The frosted window panes of memory,
the brackish leakages of longing—

whichever sibling dies, it’s the wrong one.

Poets Respond
November 22, 2015

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Jessica Goodfellow: “This poem is about one human being looking at another human being, and denying her refuge. It’s about the dichotomy of classifications (not my nationality, not my religion) that allow that to happen. I began with Robert Frost’s “Some say the world will end in fire, Some say ice.” and turning that around to consider the dichotomy of items that preserve rather than destroy, or ought to. But do they? And how arbitrary are the dichotomies we cling to. And what do they perpetuate?” (website)

Note: This poem has been published exclusively online as part of a project in which poets respond to current events. A poem written within the last week about an event that occurred within the last week will appear every Sunday at Our only criterion for selection is the quality of the poem, not its editorial position; any opinions expressed are solely those of the poet and do not necessarily reflect those of Rattle’s editors. To read poems from past weeks, visit the Poets Respond page. Interact on our Facebook group. To have a poem considered for next week’s posting, submit it here before midnight Friday PST.