Poem of the Week | April 25, 2016

This week we feature a new poem by Jason Labbe. Labbe’s work appears in Poetry, A Public Space, Conjunctions, Boston Review, Colorado Review, and in a handful of chapbooks. He teaches at Southern Connecticut State University, operates a small business specializing in vintage Triumph motorcycles, and plays drums and percussion with various recording and performing projects in the Northeast. He lives in Bethany, Connecticut.
Author’s note:

I wrote this poem in my back yard, surrounded by woods, at dusk. While the poem in one respect simply records my surroundings, it also reflects in its aesthetics and subject matter a number of things I’d been obsessing over, including Robert Smithson’s art and essays, the films of Stan Brakhage (especially Mothlight), and a strained friendship that seemed to be finding its end. I was recognizing that I’d handled the relationship carelessly and that it was beyond the point where an apology would mean very much.
Dusk is my favorite part of the day, and I find it most intense in autumn. This poem dwells in the threshold between sunlight and dark, the warm day and chilly night, leaves and no leaves.


Apology as Map of the Illegible


Summer’s finale
is a glass of ice, early pear
on the lowest branch


not yet bending down


to instruct where
to begin, again belatedly
in cursive and imperfect


A bat darts between trees
Its path is jagged
erratic across


blue going black
No moths collect by the dead
flood light


Nightfall suspends
the droning motors in the distance
We trail off


And something else curves


toward the red
couch on the flaking grey
porch of nobody’s repose


A nerve in the hand which gestures
what can’t be read
pressures the point


Summer wears off


What shouldn’t have been said
now almost melted
almost illegible


Night will hang
rangy and frayed overhead
until the heat lets up


up and you