Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2008 Vol. 7 No. 1


Herman Melville’s Book of Four Sentences

The snow fence could be seen
leaving a woman who’s eating cold noodles.

It’s not made of abandoned bee boxes
or, egotistically,
like a medieval famine in Japan.

Here, the Quaker whalers
are scaling a ladder
into the idealized heavens.

A ladder
made of fresh DNA of snow fence:
these pious hunters
are screaming and waving to their children:

they sigh and say, bye-bye:
their gums
bleeding like glaciers,
like the receding hairline of acacia
                                            on Mt. Sinai . . .