We stand next to winter waves to memorize their roar, small stones in the blue dreaming themselves backwards. I want to say a deity dwelled in that mine of churning stone, that we could smell hooves and hair in the mineral and bitumen brine, taste the sweat of winter sun. I want to say in November the Atlantic’s lip was indigo, but it was colder than indigo. Gray of uncrushed granite when we took deep breaths and lunged into the dying god’s luminescent mind.
Prototype for the eruption of melancholy
– taken from an interview with Adam Purple about his Garden of Eden, formerly on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, demolished in 1986
formed bed widths and lengths equal
to a rake’s handle; surplus whole bricks
sold for 25¢ each; generated potash
from unpainted burnt wood; with a bike,
carried back carriage- horse manure, filling
concentric broken- circle beds, flowering
Euclideans of stone; sifted rubble
for the gravel wheel of paths,
salvaged galvanized sheet metal;
for gaps: sand–
dragged mattress springs back
for a Connecticut dry stone wall, curling non-enclosure –
walking sticks, praying mantises, snakes, brown
thrushes, bees in black walnut, purple basil below a Chinese Empress
sharing a spoke near the center of a labyrinth
on the Lower East Side, Green Ash opening
in leaves that wheel, again, spin.
-- Nick Rattner has served as Editor-in-Chief of Gulf Coast and as Editor for Ugly Duckling Presse. Recent work has appeared in / will soon appear in Fence, Colorado Review, The Cortland Review, Sixth Finch, Pleiades, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Denver Quarterly, Salt Hill, and Asymptote. At present, he is translating the work of Spanish poet Juan Andrés García Román, with the recent chapbook Little Songs (2022) from Foundlings Press and a forthcoming book The Adoration (2023) from Quantum Prose, for which he was awarded a grant from Spain’s Ministry of Education.