Poem of the Week | April 26, 2011

This week we are proud to feature “Achluophilia” by Jessica Piazza.  The poem is previously unpublished.  Jessica Piazza was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and is currently a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.  She is co-founder of Bat City Review, a contributing editor at The Offending Adam,  and an editor for The Gold Line Press Chapbook Contest.  When she’s not working on publishing other people’s poems, she writes her own…some of which have appeared or are forthcoming in Agni, Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, National Poetry Review, Rattle, 32 Poems, No Tell Motel and Barrelhouse.

Author’s Note:

For a few years I basically only wrote formal poems whose titles were clinical phobias or clinical philias.  I’m clearly obsessed with obsession, and though forms can be an obsession in and of themselves, I was also really into the play that sonics allow: how different meters and insistent internal rhyme and alliteration can produce a sound that I hope mimics the pulse of the poems’ obsessive fears and loves.  Achluophilia is a Sapphic, and I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with that form; perfect, maybe, for a love poem about darkness.  But I hope the music beats like a tell-tale heart beneath the floor of the poem.  And I hope, more importantly, that you all have fun reading it. Because there’s plenty of obsession in our little world of poetry, but maybe not enough fun.


Love of darkness


My tired love sleeps.  His eyes are alive with movement:

flicker, flicker, mimicking trains and halfway

open.  Tragic: one should be blind when sleeping;

waking’s already


hardship, overload of the heart.  Awake, the

body blinks, incredulous: stunned and working.

Mornings waking, swept by the moving world, he

whispers of seeing,


talks of seeing halfway in sleep-the curse of

nighttime sight, the bedfellow shadows, how the

dark is never static the way we dream it

must be.  He tells me


we’ve been here, surviving for hundreds of years, half

dozed.  The minutes fly in the day.  At night we

watch each other, watching.  I sleep.  I dream his

dreams of a moving


darkness.  In my dreams my own eyes half open,

watching him, asleep, and I see him sleeping,

seeing, moving.  Night, and I’m covered with his

eyes, but his eyes won’t


cover him.  It’s night, and I can’t distinguish

sleep from sight.  I move, and I understand him:

we have lived for years, somewhere in between the

blink and the blindness.