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Genevieve Kaplan


A lack there in the dust of the moment
             (the trees, the underbrush, the lights through the leaves)

One evening without rain versus the evening before
Keeping whatever aphids out of whatever lemon tree
Whatever aphids off of what roses
The reflection of the daylight in the leaves, clouds roving between the branches
Something to be done in the house
A passion to be borne from the interior

The hallway I belong in is the one we trod down
Now dead, or not, now plastic, now toxic, now part of the outskirts
Now decorated with images of imaginary fruit trees 
To be from it, near it

And that’s enough, I say in my garden, now quiet
The dangling leaves taunting or wilting due to the sudden shift in the weather
A dying season, enough to wish on but no more
A key impulse, damage of an afternoon
The slug tracing a slow path over the leaves, among the leaves
Between them and back down below


Listen to Genevieve Kaplan read "A lack there in the dust of the moment...:"



If they want to feed, it is theirs

if the moths get into it, then everyone eats
the morning coming, its clouds
(the one bird bigger than the morning).
but the smoke settles in and we’re breathing
the birds and I, and the house
in the room, in the day
on the raised surface that is mine.

daring, persistent, not about to panic—
might we, for their heckling
and grousing, their caterwauling slid
between the door and the doorjamb
and the sill
they babble on, lay claim
to the branches
at the mess
of seed on the ground.


Listen to Genevieve Kaplan read "If they want to feed, it is theirs:"




In the fog, the world

o green leaves that fade and shrink, the world
I could imagine, the water
there, near the depression of the path, the sadness
of the speaker, when squirrels
and other birds disrupt the leaves. the water
moves in circular motions, each falling
heavily, a blue-blanketed carriage rolls by—because
who will know when I look
up, when I might be moved to look up again—the shudderings
there, the nearing. find me the way to the water—the hose
the faucet, the line—and shut off
these fidgetings. you take the sentimentality out, you fake
the aching watching, you
prefer jealousy over water’s soft flow, the determined
movement of machines and we’re
left in the leaf-mulch, with the smallest flying
bugs and the droppings of the unfortunate
animal, while past the hedge the ladies in white hats
collect plant trimmings—into their
pop-up laundry hampers—cooing over butterflies
and the low, cool breeze and, tapped
into the role of politeness, look sneakily
over the ends of the hill to see exactly—precisely—
how the water falls below it


Listen to Genevieve Kaplan read "In the fog, the world:"



Part of this season

the birds ignore such goings-on, their interest
is in leaves, the branches, the color
of the sky each night, I think,
there’s a sound (there is
and there’s not. and there is) and there isn’t
some play. the concrete sky, the cement of the ground
it’s all one structure. and it holds
together. we hear the metallic tap of their beaks.
the clink a foot makes along the edge, around
the edge of the ring. it’s too still, in the vein
of the sun, it highlights
only a dry leaf, and another dry leaf and
another. you read it in the way the tree
leans toward us, how the smaller tree fruits
but doesn’t ripen, how the metal glints
here, stirring spokes and dust and I listen
for what’s coming. I hope to improve
the brick. I hope not to lose sight of the fence.
I think I’ll be able to hold it again if I look closely.


Listen to Genevieve Kaplan read "Part of this season:"



Genevieve Kaplan is a Ph.D. candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online journals, and her first book of poetry, In the ice house, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press.
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