Winter 2004 • Vol. XXVI No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2004 |

Five Pounds

This non-aerosol prayer dates from the forties.             —The Inside Collector 1. But aren't all prayers aerosol?—they leave in a breath, and rise through air, as air, until they finally reach an Ear of Ears, a Hearing, which is even more invisible and ubiquitous than oxygen. —A six-year-old's sweet notion. But they took me, when I turned thirteen, to a bare-plank storefront synagogue for the annual Day of Atonement. Here, the men who had already fasted near to twenty hours, standing all this time, and incanting tearfully … their exhalations had the sour weight of bile acting as a brake upon ascension. This was a lesson in the true, long, heavy dumbbell heft of penitence—in Godward imploration as the brie-smell of a foot too long in its shoe. One man was rolled in on a wheelchair, then lifted from it, and set on the floor on his waist—his way of standing. There he was, a squatty mound of a creature, fastened to the ground without a min

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Albert Goldbarth has been publishing collections of poetry for over four decades, two of which two have received the National Book Critics Circle Award. His latest, Selfish, was published by Graywolf Press in May 2015. He tests his patience by living in Wichita, Kansas.

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Wrist Beep

By Albert Goldbarth

This non-aerosol prayer dates from the forties.             —The Inside Collector 1. But aren't all prayers aerosol?—they leave in a breath, and rise through air, as air, until they finally reach […]

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