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About this Poem 

“This poem is part of the title series in my forthcoming book Blackacre (Graywolf Press, 2016). In Anglo-American law, ‘blackacre’ is a standard placeholder term used to denote a hypothetical estate or piece of property, much as the term ‘John Doe’ would be used to indicate a hypothetical or anonymous individual. For example, in a legal hypothetical, one might say that John Doe wishes to bequeath his property blackacre to his sister Jane Roe. Similarly, one can designate other hypothetical properties whiteacre, greenacre, brownacre, etc.”
Monica Youn


the trees all planted in the same month after the same fire

            each thick around
            as a man’s wrist

meticulously spaced grids cutting the sunshine

            into panels into planks
            and crossbeams of light

an incandescent architecture that is the home that was
    promised you

            the promise of your new
            purified body

your body rendered glasslike by fire now open to the light

            slicing through you
            through the glass

bones of your hands as you lift the light free of its verticals

            carry it blazing
            through your irradiated life

Copyright © 2015 by Monica Youn. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Monica Youn. Used with permission of the author.

Monica Youn

Monica Youn

Monica Youn is the author of Blackacre (Graywolf Press, 2016). She teaches at Princeton University and lives in New York City.

by this poet


                     Lamentation (Martha Graham, 1930)

                     What shall I compare to you, that I may comfort                                 you, virgin daughter of Zion? Lamentations 2:13


Wordless, ceaseless,
a second, seamless skin,
this blue refrain


To section off
is to intensify,

to deaden.
Some surfaces

cannot be salvaged.
Leave them

to lose function,
to persist only

as armature,
holding in place

those radiant

of sensation—
the body a dichotomy



a bird / falls off / a balcony / panicked grasping / fistfuls of / air


I was wrong
please I was
wrong please I
wanted nothing please
I don’t want