Issue 15 – Winter 2008 – Mark Irwin

Mark Irwin

Landscape Crossed with Sleep & Prayer

The stars are not real, not
the trees, the lake. How far it is
to another body. How fast the mind’s
leap. Now I lay me down
to the dead. Their names are still windows
to a doorless place. I would only ask them
where, for what are places when we
sleep? Now I lay me down to be
the object of what will soon be lost.
To what or to whom should I pray?
That tomorrow you be exactly hungry
beside me. The stars and trees are not real. I swim
across the lake of your body. I drown. I wake.




When after the years     I can no longer assemble

the flesh task of you                   I recall neither token nor

photo, but take             the faint sweat-scent of your blouse, its

distant cargo, where to              gain my face

means the past is not equal       to today, prepositionless,

pooled now, evaporating like your phrase,         Make it last. There

did I not glimpse a tided shadow in its                smallest detail? The organ

bore a heaved weight in

air. The ashes




Mark Irwin’s sixth collection of poetry, TALL IF, was published by New Issues in the fall of 2008. He teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles and Colorado. Recent work appears in Antioch Review, APR, Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry, and Tri-Quarterly.