Issue 14 – Summer 2008 – Endi Bogue Hartigan

Endi Bogue Hartigan


Whale Lament

The bluish tail has grown
and has slapped
the capped sea. 

The happy whale says
let us stay happy. 
We are rich with 
will and oil.

Chorus of blue 
[Crater Lake, 2007]

The question of change 
is a question of what we can afford to continue. 
A series of snapping points or rips. 
The lake is a question 
of what the mountain can take or not. 
The chorus afforded blue, but barely. 
The chorus of blue sang out of thin voices in oxygen-thin air. 
The blue vibrated electrons in water and absorbed 
what was not turned back. 
We turned our backs on the war. 
The chorus of blue tilted into our eyes, and filtering, taught us to filter, 
but out what? 
The chorus of blue held itself up, a mirror of itself, fanatic and fantastic. 
Abstract blue—a new coin— took the center 
through, through. 
We turned our backs on the lake. 
A series of snapping points or rips. 
The chorus filtered out disturbance, filtered out detail and violence 
and observance. 
Tilt, shine, tilt… 
what did we shed again, and why? 
A little girl went back sobbing 
who had to leave the clearest sky.



Scripts of silver

The sun left scripts of silver on the reservoir then only water. 
The paper offers 101s on war then only paper.
Democracy instructs.
Keep them separate, the silver and the chorus

and ultimately, we’ll see and then we’ll hear, we said to ourselves.
Silver shiver silver surface, only that.
Silver doesn’t ask itself what would it give, give up
or give away; it wouldn’t be silver then,

right? It wouldn’t be shining
through the center, apparent and profitless and barely white.
The water moving turned to silver for a moment then
to clear again—-the sun

on the water turned to silver blinding then to sun.
The sun left scripts of silver on the reservoir then only water.
Pull them apart 
without ripping: paper pasted with old glue,

pull the silver from instructions,
take instructions from the permeating silver. We were slivers, then, 
of silver, right? Run and run around the reservoir, leaking
profitless, uncaught.

Test silver spoons by tapping the pipes.
Test our days against what they are not.
The silver had white bleeding through the center 
like a wound.

I said fighting for the silver was disaster;
said carry the blind spot of disaster, 
as if disaster saved.
The silver had no force of instruction or will, no democracy earned,

no metaphorical derangement.
Around and around the fountain the runners run, the pedals circle.
I am not current anymore beside you silver.
I am not currency, said silver, so leave me here. 



Endi Bogue Hartigan’s poetry is forthcoming in Quarterly West and Tinfish and has appeared in New Orleans Review, INSURANCE, and other magazines. She co-founded and edited the magazine Spectaculum, devoted to long poems, series, and selections best presented at length. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and son. The poems here are from a working manuscript, “Chorus Interstice.”