CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Three Poems
Nancy Kuhl


Ring


tiny bell rant coincident near curve

wet sunlight negotiating sill and

chipped-paint ceiling a lesson by hint

and degree I’ll tell you why and there

was also winter
how you articulated

joint and turn voice like a memento

like a relic you whispered you supposed

and my discerning my resolute spine

understood I sat up to listen to longing

streaming in wire-seamed glass and then

and no not again the same sky-hollow

afternoon the single forgettable hour how

threadless and clean how I lost you finally

into the pocked mouthpiece of the phone

and now and nevertheless the receiver still

off the hook like our imagined old days

pushy signal droning like a true and

ancient word unfastened and yes I am

lucky in slanting shadow rigidly un-

voiced I am fixed and irrevocable I am

barely visible in this long-windowed room



Mercury Retrograde


trick of light a ghostly planet’s

failure to turn its reversal

like your ring slipping

to knuckle like that specific

absence your voice resolved

recorded replayed addressing

no one exactly still catching

slowly this press and shade and

shade the way we speak to one

another our remote and decisive

machine rapport not wide-eyed

or singular or slight and I

am of two minds I hesitate I

ask and find without warning the

midnight open window dreaming

this ordinary radiance spilling brilliant

losses and returns your answer

unswerving from the urgent first

it locates me nameless in the bright

planet’s forgetful gaze now

unguarded and unmistakable under

Mercury’s perpetual spinning

its distant and indelible habit



Network, Constellation


screenlit and glowing word

by slippery word the toothy

demands tiresome flicker and all

this simulation this lexicon falling

flat pleading won’t you without

a trace of cheekbone or ribcage

please and please and please and no

memory of a body’s creased heat

metallic shiver marching the spine

every consequence rendered blank

and blinking or bound and

scripted almost routine steady

to the end out of sight saying

I want and I want more of everything

illuminated page tedious marks

the sender is echo echo and

our distant secrets constellate

radiant like cold-night far-flung

stars white and always heatless


Nancy Kuhl is the author of Suspend (2010) and The Wife of the Left Hand (2007). She is coeditor of Phylum Press, a small poetry publisher, and curator of poetry of the Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.