Issue 31 – 2020 – Laura Quinney

A Raking Angle


Look back and it is
only one corridor
windowless narrow
from there to here
though the plain
was a width
of sun and flowers
and there must be
some optical illusion
involved in seeing
so narrowly now
as if something expected
to broaden outward
had stayed in its place
instead and failed to grow
and the child remained
and the child remained
where it was sown
on the first day.


The First Years


In Akhmatova’s version
it is St. Petersburg, 1913.
They are staging modernist
ballets. They are dancing
in the house by the river.
They are drinking champagne.
Satan is Kuzmin.
For sorrow in love the young poet
kills himself on the stairs.

In our version it is the 1980s
in New Haven, Connecticut,
and Ithaca, New York.
We are effervescing
on high-end literary theory
at Yorkside Pizzeria.
A farce, a lesser world.

But someone dies for love anyway.


Laura Quinney is the author of two books of poetry: Corridor (Borderland Books, 2008) and New Ghosts (Borderland Books, 2016).