Saturday Apr 01

UptonLee Lee Upton’s novella, The Guide to the Flying Island, was a winner of the Miami University Novella Competition.  She is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Undid in the Land of Undone (New Issues, 2007), and four books of literary criticism.




The Orchard, Endless

No one will ever be hungry here.
The orchard is no one’s  illusion.
The fruit that lodged Persephone in hell,
and figs, and olives, and apples,
cling like bats at a cave wall.
A branch springs back and films with blossoms,
and those blossoms instantly unfold into pears.
The orchard blooms all year,
and once he’s under those branches,
Odysseus doesn’t consider how
he will be battered into an old man.
He doesn’t wonder about his friends
twisting in the wind, not when he’s beneath
planets bunched in glittering air,
not when he stares at an archipelago of lures,
an ageless fountain, an undimmed mirror.
Just the same, even he turns his back
on heaving sweetness.   Even he walks away
from unending, griefless, alien
And like a hero of our own
he comes to us at home,
toward our faces looming in rows,
where someone is always taking in words that unfold,
and won’t let us die by ourselves.

Dream Interpretation

I dreamed I forgot
a rhinoceros in the backyard.
What does this mean?
Something big and horned and dangerous?
Or endangered and hunted for medicinal properties?
Or is it a pun?
The way I dreamed I was
carrying a sack in an elevator.
Translation:  He left me holding the bag.
Is it about us?


The train ride to skepticism had so many stops.
I love that city,
the parody shops,
the way the lights go on and off unexpectedly
in the city proper with its bad drainage.
We were naive to think
we could afford the rent, that’s true.
At least we held ourselves to a standard.