Refraction

Frederick Pollack

A skylight casts a lozenge on a wall.
In early morning, post-insomnia,
I’m glad to recognize so quickly
that the shapes within it, knotted, wavering,
began as branches thirty feet away.
Now they swell, look something like the cloud-tops
of Jupiter. Now spare and Asian,
now like a highly magnified section
of bone. I’m genuinely
lost awhile in that diamond,
the silence, and the feeling
of wakefulness without will. Imagine
vaguely a day when the last repairs
are made to the ecosystem. People
in work clothes stand around
as whatever is supposed to happen
happens: a new glacier
advances a millimeter;
intricately channeled water
flows into grey but hopefully suited land.
No cheers – but who knows what’s going on
inside? These folks are used
to contemplation and the arts of hunger;
enthusiasm best left to the dead.


Frederick Pollack is author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press; the former to be reissued by Red Hen Press. A collection of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, 2015 from Prolific Press. Another collection, LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT, 2018 from Smokestack Books (UK). Has appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Magma (UK), Iota (UK), Orbis (UK), Neon (UK), Bateau, Main Street Rag, Manhattan Review, Prick of the Spindle, etc. Online, poems have appeared in Off Course, Brickplight, Allegro, BlazeVox, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, Thunderdome, Neglected Ratio, Big Pond Rumours (Canada), etc.

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