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occasions

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, March 15, 2016.
About this Poem 

“I’d been writing a series of poems on utopias and utopic communities and started to realize how much millenarian thinking was wrapped up in them. So this poem picks up the thread there.”
—Joe Hall

Utopia: Love as Last Day

The forest rings so wide, it is the world. The sky, ocean,
        hand
In hand rising to tides, particulate excreta. The river mouth

The moon lights in blindness through the forest, hot,
        tumbling silver by houses
Like mushrooms crowded. Ladder by ladder, neighbors
        pass ore in ladles

While this planet hushes into a cinder. The moon unlocks
        its continents of water
So the outline of a sail appears as its cobalt face—the forest

A ring tight as the throat sings wider: who arrives
Who arrives who arrives. In the office I ask

If the cup my coworker is holding is real. It doesn’t look
        real. It looks like math’s
Translated bed. Beside their chainsaws, loggers smoking—        
        brain-

Dead, lung-dead, I am the operator of something—the
        mouth with green rot touching
The metal slurry of the ocean.

The singer sings the last verse. The last
Song we hear, stepping outside the heat

Into the dark pine, the moon dissolving like lead.
In the office I ask, How could the news come?

In our terror echoing as profit.

Copyright © 2016 Joe Hall. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2016 Joe Hall. Used with permission of the author.

Joe Hall

Joe Hall

Joe Hall is the author of The Devotional Poems (Black Ocean, 2013).

by this poet

poem

How could the news come?
We drove with my second cousins to
The orchards at the feet of the Catskills.

We cut three names into a tree.
And when I burned my wrist in the cannery
So badly it began to bubble,

You were there with a bucket of cold water.
Among the tons of