Issue 20 | Fall 2018

Welcome to the Occupation

                        We do not surrender. But want peace.
—Tomas Tranströmer

A faint insurrection bleeds between endless brainwashed
ranks of cloud—hardly a flame but if I have to burn an ampule
of unabashed mystery to leak through haze, let it be the lone
blue eye of a bathysphere lowered to gaze at what we can’t

or won’t see of ourselves. Let’s wait for the stenographer before
we begin, you say. Wait if you want, I’ve got wind in my teeth,
partisan thumos-cries splitting my ears, lungs chuffing a taut reel
of unrequited razor wire and a tongue on fire champing to tell

all that happened there in our quiet village…yet who would hear
over the measured chunk of a stonemason’s annotation, the ticking
lick and scrape of history’s trowel? How they made hell home
defiling our daughters and icon mantel, spoiling their own spoils.

Week after week, rain infiltrates underground numbers stations
driving saturated secrets like ants from floor and baseboard cracks,
molding enemies of neighbors, our sacred trust bled into puddles.
I can see you’re nervous with all this water forcing resurgent

worms back to the surface. No need to file an affidavit or give
a drowned expiation mouth-to-mouth just yet. First I want to get
to know you, walk a while beside your stream that thinks it’s a river,
cavernous under a caul of new leaves where the green gloam dims

and no one will hear us. You have every right to doubt news so
uniformly grim—but look again at these rocks, the leaf rot and
trees’ skin, the water itself singing as it descends through mist.
How everything, even a cloud, shines in its resistance.

Filed under: Poetry

Recipient of the Edna St. Vincent Millay and Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prizes, Partridge Boswell is the author of Some Far Country (Grolier Poetry Prize). His poems have recently surfaced in The Gettysburg Review, Salmagundi, The American Poetry Review, , Plume, The Moth, and Forklift, Ohio. Co-founder of Bookstock Literary Festival and the poetry/music group Los Lorcas, he teaches at Burlington Writers Workshop and lives with his family in Vermont.