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About this poet

Noah Warren is the author of The Destroyer in the Glass (Yale University Press, 2016), winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He was the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship and is currently pursuing a PhD in English at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Standard

At the Standard they pay a man to lathe olive wood
into the softball-sized spheres they load the braziers with

in the heat of early afternoon. They douse them with gas, touch
a match: and the guests with their crow faces

and sky-colored suits emerge
to sip from tiny eggshell glasses.

Orchids lean out from jute baskets lashed
to the palm trunks, lit from below they flutter

like moths—undesperate, and the guests
look exactly the same age, their fingertips linger

on each other’s forearms as they form tender
careless sentences, which diffuse,

and though even their shivers are languorous, delicious, Eugenio says
you can tell from the way they dip

the big shrimps in green sauce and nibble
the creamy meat down, an inch at a time

that they never have sex;
and if I observe how they let their napkins drop

on the gravel, how they drift down the path to dinner
I’ll know who has just recognized himself in a stranger,

calmly; whose torso is squeezed by a wordless joy;
who feels like a child; who a cloud;

and who aches, as she steps back onto the cool tiles of the arcade
in thin sandals, to be broken down again,

annihilated, into a thinking rubble.

Copyright © 2018 Noah Warren. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Summer 2018. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2018 Noah Warren. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Summer 2018. Used with permission of the author.

Noah Warren

Noah Warren

Noah Warren is the author of The Destroyer in the Glass (Yale University Press, 2016), winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets. 

by this poet

poem

The lake dry; it seethes.
Rust creeps through
brittle reeds, seeps into
the rustling seed-heads—
one stalk bows
beneath the weight
of the blackbird’s feet.

From the path edge
the fat lizard barks,
a silent croak.
He pivots, sprints over sticks,
plunges into

2
poem

More than a hundred dollars of them.

It was pure folly. I had to find more glass things to stuff them          
       in.

Now a white and purple cloud is breathing in each corner

of the room I love. Now a mass of flowers spills down my                  
      dining table—

each

2
poem
           threw the pot of aloe from the balcony.
Bone yellow with a crackle glaze:
I was sitting close, I saw it teeter
on the railing,
the iron swaying— 
 
There are so many plants.
 
On slender, ringed necks
the old