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Hookey

BY JACOB OET

Runner-Up for the 2013 Adroit Prize for Poetry
Judge: Garth Greenwell

 

We leave New York for New York, two hours later.
“Here we are,” he says, “fresh off the ferry.”
We walk the sunlit avenues, hands in our pockets.
We sing old Russian songs. Everything looks different.

Our hearts, and their dozen gold disks, feel
heavy in the shadow and light in the sun.
Night falls, and the streets blink as strangely
as the familiar fireflies above our chimney.

Our new mothers tuck us in as always.
The porcupine and I smile at each other,
noting the differences between the countries of
one day and the next. As we harden into sleep

our hearts melt: stormy, sunlit oceans, tossing
white braids of froth that fish leap after,
filthy-finned, swelling white-yellow eyes,
mouths gulping through the air, and the errors.

 

 

Jacob Oet is the author of four poetry chapbooks, with a fifth forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. His poems have appeared in such journals as Fugue, Cream City Review, Yemassee, The Monarch Review, and The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, among others. He was recently chosen by Edward Hirsch as runner-up for the Abraham Sutzkever Centennial Translation Prize, and is currently an undergraduate student at Swarthmore College.