July/Aug 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 4 PoetryAugust 24, 2022 |

Gnostic Spring, or That New York Times Article on Languishing

We have all stroked the face of God or someone else lightly with our fingertips, but making the mystery of the unseen manifest didn’t help us with the ever-growing vault of uncertainty we held inside our . . . hearts is too cliché but whatever replaced them at the start of the pandemic. Online, a friend says it is always Tuesday, which is accurate, and what does it mean that time don’t mean a thing anymore? Even if we pause. Even if we get low and stay low, crouch like wrestlers facing the shore trying to withstand regular breaking waves or sometimes rip currents, our horizontal bodies only buoyed gently by salt and spit in sleep. I haven’t heard from my friends in months—not even in dreams— but I’ve collected tins of glistening sharks’ teeth, held them in my palms, their sharp tips unblunted by years tumbling in the wake. In the wake of sadness. In the wake of grief and loss. In the wake of any kind of absence. The road is long. The ending is predictable.

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Photo of Erika Meitner
Erika Meitner is the author of six books of poems, including Useful Junk (BOA Editions, 2022) and Holy Moly Carry Me (BOA Editions, 2018), which was the winner of the 2018 National Jewish Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is currently a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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Absence

By Erika Meitner

We have all stroked the face of God or someone else lightly with our fingertips, but making the mystery of the unseen manifest didn’t help us with the ever-growing vault […]

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