Three Poems by Emily Vogel


[The following poems appear in First Words (NYQ Books, 2015) and are reprinted here with permission of the author and publisher.]


A Small Report

Jesus was crucified yesterday afternoon, or Jesus was crucified
two thousand years ago. The days pass

in the usual sense of days passing:

we eat pork roast and potatoes,
watch clever commercials on the television.

The nature of time is terrifically troubling.

A six-foot Santa rises among some evergreen trees,
among the muck of a dimly lit back road,
among the cold and forthcoming season.

You fall asleep on the floor beneath my feet.
Somewhere is the sound of water.
My womb swells with the bulk of a life.
Stories unfold in a series of images,
people pass in and out as personalities
bereft of names.

At the falling of dusk, Emmanuel comes,
and the traffic on the highway proceeds

in a wild confusion of light.


Channel 3

The deepest part of the night is blue noise,
the sound of an infant breathing.
My husband snores beside her on the floor.
Me, I’m an unfathomable crater on the moon,
a vessel that contains conceivable things.
I want to lie in a field of waving wheat
and discuss the mysteries of the universe.
I travel through starlight which appears
on channel 3, my mind a conduit
for traversals, each evasion of the bleeding heart
a fleeting redemption.


Despair upon Waking

Late at night, I wait for you in a room
like spring, its urgent rivers roiling
into distances. It is the dark
which is my refuge,
my mind without exact location,
a thing of verbosity.

It begins to reason with itself.
It discerns God, a trace of something dead,
that wild and inconspicuous angel.

Between me and my mind,
a solution has arisen.
I wait for you in a room,
like spring.

Earlier, we watched a show on the TV
about the corruption of the church,
the crimes and sins of ordinary priests.

I wasn’t thinking about this.

Instead, I thought about
a photograph of my mother,
lying in the grass,
holding me above her head
as an infant. She was smiling
and her hair shined.

Later, you enter me like a room,
the dark my refuge, myself the refuge
and the dark, the shape of you
difficult to discern. I love you
like a reoccurrence, a repetition,
so many indiscriminate howls
of grief and desire.

Later, I dream that I am dead.

My mother
is a thing of consolation.

There is the moment of crucifixion,
and my newborn daughter floats
among some disorder
of scattered stars.


Emily Vogel’s poetry, reviews, essays, and translations have most recently been published in Omniverse, The Paterson Literary Review, Lips, City Lit Rag, Luna Luna, Maggy, Lyre Lyre, The Comstock Review, The Broome Review, Tiferet, The San Pedro River Review, and 2 Bridges Review, among several others. She is the author of five chapbooks, and a full-length collection, The Philosopher’s Wife, published in 2011 by Chester River Press, a collaborative book of poetry, West of Home, with her husband Joe Weil (Blast Press), and a recently released collection, First Words (NYQ Books). She has work forthcoming in The Boston Review, and a full-length book of poetry, Man, Woman, or Vacillations: Dante’s Unintended Flight, due to be released by NYQ Books in 2017.  She teaches writing at SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College, and lives with her husband, the poet Joe Weil, and their two children, Clare and Gabriel.

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