Monday, January 26, 2015

Jennifer Kwon Dobbs

The Moon Jar

As the moon descends into the well

the jar inside the well

it reveals a great

emptiness that is the jar

summoning others who will come

after the fact of the jar

disappears inside the moon.


A House in Nicosia

White curtain fluttering as if a childish hand
bats at distance, flicks

plaster off ramshackle walls
papered with a politician’s face.

In Time’s slow fray

he’s a target
practice for tower guards

overlooking a football field
of plastic bags, green spray cans, a train’s
outline heaving across the bleacher’s height.

Down concrete steps
a diaspora
of feral cats scatter—
the only ones, ribbed with longing, who can cross.

I was talking about a childish hand

writing that wide and mortal pang
called History,

that human cry
forced from home one morning
leaving a smear.

Through dust and shadow, I see tarnish,
bullhorns, dogs, a crash
of drawers, metal spoons and forks,

a long crawl
space under pine boards
torn up revealing a secret

darkness where no one hid
the money, what’s left of the canopy

frame’s blue drapes
that her husband pulled back
to make love to her.

Young, they left the balcony doors open.
Boys laughed and kicked a ball past midnight.

Now the mattress straddles a threshold
summoning like tides to a raft
tied to the firmament.

Tell me.

If two loves claim this house
to whom does it belong?

Jennifer Kwon Dobbs is the author of Paper Pavilion, recipient of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize and the New England Poetry Club’s Sheila Motton Book Award, and Song of a Mirror, finalist for the Tupelo Snowbound Chapbook Award. Recently, her prose and poetry have appeared in Asian American Literary Review, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, Cimarron Review, Line Break (AAWW), Mascara Review, Poetry NZ, SOLO NOVO, among others; and have been anthologized in Echoes Upon Echoes (Asian American Writers’ Workshop 2003), Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (W. W. Norton 2008), One for the Money: The Sentence as a Poetic Form (Blue Lynx Press 2012), and Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence (White Pine Press 2015). She has also received grants from the Daesan Foundation and the Minnesota Arts Board. Currently, Jennifer is associate professor of English at St. Olaf College where she teaches poetry, creative nonfiction, and Asian American studies.

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