Excerpt from After Babel by Jessica de Koninck


The following poem appears in our Spring/Summer 2020 which we’ve decided to share not just with our paying subscribers but with our full community free of charge during these astonishing times. If anyone wishes to make a donation, it would be appreciated.

There is a common language
I cannot master; though it was
my first. English came second.
I do not know the nouns of this
language or its syntax. I cannot
conjugate its verbs. But rivers speak it,
as do bones and bottles left
for recycling, the geese in the lake,
screen doors, peach trees,
ambulances, trolley cars and kettles.
It is there in the static of stars.
But I remain dumb.
If I could speak this tongue,
if I had its vocabulary, if I knew
its tune, I could tell you,
and you would understand

Click here to read the rest of Jessica’s poem and our Spring/Summer 2020 issue for free.

Jessica de KoninckJESSICA DE KONINCK is the author of one full length collection, Cutting Room (Terrapin Books) and one chapbook, Repairs (Finishing Line Press). Her poems appear in journals and anthologies including DiodeThe Paterson Literary Review and The Valparaiso Poetry Review and featured twice on Verse Daily. She leads a poetry workshop at the Greenwich House Senior Center in New York. Jessica is a long-time resident of Montclair, New Jersey, and very active in the community.

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