Issue 22 | Summer 2019

The North

for Galway Kinnell                                                                      

Far enough north and you can read
white written on white, hear
whispers miles away, forget fire’s
name. You blink back so many red veils

so often they stop being blood. The fur
of your parka becomes indistinguishable
from your own hair. When your compass
comes undone, its arrows turning

unsure, a quiver, then a blur,
you’re at the end of the world where
the self is just one more minor flag.
There, you build a place in the ice

where you sleep until a roar
rises and blows out the fire.
Rises out of you, out of the endless,
restless miles, it doesn’t matter.

Filed under: Poetry

Jeff Oaks author photo

Jeff Oaks‘ most recent collection, Mistakes with Strangers, was published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2014. A recipient of three Pennsylvania Council of the Arts fellowships, Jeff Oaks has published poems in a number of literary magazines, most recently in Assaracus, Barrow Street, Best New Poets, Field, Nimrod, and Tupelo Quarterly. His essays have appeared in At Length, Creative Nonfiction, Kenyon Review Online, and in the anthologies Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction, and My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them. He teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh.