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Justine el-Khazen

Justine el-Khazen

Justine el-Khazen teaches creative writing at Eugene Lang College and is a graduate of the Masters in Creative Writing program at UC Davis. She was a 2014 Emerging Poets Fellow at Poets House and will be a 2015 apexart International Fellow. Her work has appeared in Matter, Beloit Poetry Journal and The Rattling Wall among others.

The Vox Populi Falls Silent (Stage 5)

Translate a world
Into a feeling, try on the forest
Somewhere, not too far away
Things cost less, a new floor
Milled from brick. It takes one tree
To stand in, you keep saying
There's a place for us
In all this, the quaking thought
Of a black pine to stub
The dusk out:
                      There's a beginning,
An end too, a troubled space between words
Where it's possible to hold
Hands, commit an act
Of remembrance. In all this you're
A small figure, for today
The tiny furnace of your heart
No less real than the shambling
Door you shoulder open
With armfuls of food. Without
           To relieve
                            You have
The presence of mind to wash dishes
In an emergency, blink when the sky
Diminishes, leaves only the faintest
Impression of itself, a staircase
                                                Where there shouldn't be...

                                         If wind polishes
A dune or a sound is about
To intervene, the tintinnabula
Of churches, ragged indigoes everywhere
The banks new too
When you're not in them, it's enough
To use the question a different way,
Admit it's a requiem:  
                                 To someone else
The heart's a hot trinket, to you
A magnet, an annals of fire.


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