Silvius Bonus, Jobbing Psephologist

Keep two files: ‘forest (heretofore)’ and ‘forest (hereafter).’
Report well. Begin with objects and events.
The Prefect and his cottonmouth attendants
desire more granularity of data.

No landslides. Gradual fissures. Motes in the moraine.
Icebergs calving only in high summer?
Grief: sufficient, or surfeit? Caked ash: what accretions?
Poems still milking well in this dry weather?

The Floor has opened and closed. The teller recounts.
A world in each calqued little stone of my abacus.
The ayes or noes in my ears. The Speaker’s mouth.
Remember Cicero’s little brother Quintus?

I have his crib notes on electioneering
but not his heartrending Erigones.
God forgive me, I got only what was coming,

a pebble palmed, a pebble held under the tongue,
not a force for good – not a force for anything:
a point on which moment hung, a fulcrum, a hinge,

kidding myself this was a slight ambition.
Why kid myself? I have no purchase on
this life, its dense, irregular declensions.

James Brookes

James Brookes

James Brookes grew up in rural Sussex in the United Kingdom. He is presently studying at Boston University, where he is a recipient of an Academy of American Poets prize and a Robert Fitzgerald Prize for Translation. His most recent book, Spoils, was published in 2018.
James Brookes

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Author: James Brookes

James Brookes grew up in rural Sussex in the United Kingdom. He is presently studying at Boston University, where he is a recipient of an Academy of American Poets prize and a Robert Fitzgerald Prize for Translation. His most recent book, Spoils, was published in 2018.