Songs To Make You Feel Safe

The Sea at Bognor by Theodore Roussel (1895). Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Grateful for the Poplar Tree (1988)
Spring is Monolingual (2004)
Choir for Private People (2010)
Tranquil Stoneware Exhibit (2018)

In all songs, time is a vessel.
They mistranslate vessel, in reality, a spoon with a hole.

A heavy bottle of Tormentoso, a solera.
You want to go where you age differently.
The sandpit, or pale-blue slide from then—
do or don’t, you’re unable to die from a stubborn soul’s
      slow passage.

The high wall of memory caves
as you haul out its purple moths.
Forsaken, your gaze arrested by the sea,
      inwardly, a black and white photograph—
in the cold water, dark bedsheets
dissolving into sea air.
Like all songs, I can sedate you.

E.J. Koh is the author of A Lesser Love, winner of the Pleiades Press Editors Prize, and The Magical Language of Others, forthcoming from Tin House Books.
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