By Landon Godfrey:
When the antique inkwell arrives after making the journey from its dead owner’s estate, the other objects in the atomic ranch house observe it with cool attitudes. Clearly, they think, those curves and etched filigrees bespeak an affection for philosophy or power. Therefore, they shun the inkwell, keeping their own straight lines and unadorned exteriors to themselves. What they never guess: the lonely inkwell is illiterate. Only the masterful sterling silver pen can read.
A moment: when the dough, formed into a ball with greased hands, rests to rise, it exhibits what seems possible in the stone—expansion into space like a star exploding into the full spheroidal grandeur of a self-luminous celestial body. But the mundane violence of the next step overtakes our recognition of energetic brilliance—when we punch the dough and put its deflated body into a furnace, where it will grow again. The stone can grow only smaller and smaller, eroding. It keeps its opinions secret. But hoping to abrade the delusion that traps us in fantasies of an ideal past, sometimes the stone whispers our own noxious monologues to us: I was young and beautiful, my grandmother a princess, her father courageous, our vast estates filled with people who served us, suffering in a gorgeous absence of justice.
SUBTLE HORROR MOVIES
An immense lizard standing on two legs does not devour the city. The creature nibbles on it at night, while we are sleeping, but we never notice.
Some of us are not immune. We cough and sweat. Our hero is immune. To what, we do not know.
Visitor From Outer Space
We argue about the existence of God. Evidence for both sides: a church that fills with prayer only when it is empty.
Today’s poems are from the chapbook In the Stone, copyright Landon Godfrey 2014, and appear here today with permission from the poet.
Landon Godfrey’s collection of poems, Second-Skin Rhinestone-Spangled Nude Soufflé Chiffon Gown (Cider Press Review, 2011), was selected by David St. John for the 2009 Cider Press Review Book Award. She is also the author of two limited-edition letterpress chapbooks, In the Stone (RAPG-funded artist’s book, 2013) and Spaceship (Somnambulist Tango Press, 2014). Her poems have or will appear in Slice, Bombay Gin, The Collagist, Beloit Poetry Review, Best New Poets, Verse Daily, and other places, and her fiction has been published in Waxwing. A lyric essay is forthcoming in Tupelo Quarterly. Also an artist, she co-edits, -designs, and -publishes Croquet, a letterpress postcard broadside poetry journal. Born in Washington, DC, she lives in Black Mountain, NC.
Editor’s Note: Today’s poems are surprising and full of wonder. Bringing to life the inanimate, telling fantastical stories of that which can only be born of boundless imagination, what unfolds in the storylines of these poems is tempered by carefully wrought syntax, by painstaking word choice, by a sonic soundscape that mirrors and illuminates the worlds it is creating. There is a beauty and a heartbreak to the lyric that is so carefully interwoven with the poems’ narrative that one must be careful not to miss it. But a reader who slows down and savors today’s poems will be treated to moments such as “The stone can grow only smaller and smaller, eroding. It keeps its opinions secret,” and “a church that fills with prayer only when it is empty.”
Want more from Landon Godfrey?
Landon Godfrey’s Official Website
Purchase Second-Skin Rhinestone-Spangled Nude Soufflé Chiffon Gown
View In the Stone chapbook