Issue > Poetry
Amit Majmudar

Amit Majmudar

Amit Majmudar's novels are Partitions (Holt/Metropolitan, 2011) and the forthcoming The Abundance (Holt/Metropolitan, 2013). His volumes of poetry are 0',0' (TriQuarterly Books, 2009) and Heaven and Earth (winner of the Donald Justice Award, 2011). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Best American Poetry 2007 and 2012, Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-2012, Poetry, Poetry Daily, The New York Review of Books, and several other publications.


Trees keep a log of the air they breathe
like astronauts on a planet with a cyanide
atmosphere, where giant four-pronged termites
are on the loose with buzz saws. This year we breathed
barbecue and Peugeots, the log records, last year we breathed
Bikini atoll and Tsar Bomba, but we forgot
our buggy in the ship and now look, we've thrown down roots
on a planet where termites are landlords
with a love of fine cabinetry and crackling hearths.
I see trees as an alien species whose brains
are externalized: their leafy tufts of neurons
speak fluent wind and bits of caterpillarese
and sight read sunlight in arpeggios of green.
They value stillness and silence and try to die
where nobody can hear them fall, of natural causes
ideally but with so many axes and executioners
looking for a head to chop off, a tree
is a neck and brain and little else.
Cross-sectioned, they show you a map
of their solar system, treasured up in their hearts.
Where the rings Doppler close together, that's
where life on earth began, the malice and the malnutrition,
one ring black, indicating the meteor that struck
the Yucatan, a nuclear winter centuries
before nukes. That year, the trees watched as their friend,
the equally long-necked brontosaurus, tipped over
like a continent. Shortly thereafter
the termites came out of the woodwork.


Alica Friman

Alice Friman
The Real Thing


Alessandra Lynch

Alessandra Lynch
When The Body Drifts Off