Simone Muench + Jackie K White


Like astronauts falling back to earth after
the elation of weightlessness, we are heavy

home-bound objects, incapable of any true
escape from the pulleys we feign

not to know, as though we could dodge
our own funeral garb, shuttle our way

into free-fall, without drowning, and rise
again, as when the best lover let go

morphs into a jukebox playing alien songs
in our gravity-strapped blood while we scale

the rainbow from trout or rabbit scuff
from the moon. It’s not as if space mourns

our fastening to a planet that shifts us
from organs to afterthought, a footnote

to the compendium of some power's
musings. We mimic nothing more

than a stuck record, lives looping in a dirty
groove waiting for someone to lift the needle.



Elegy Lined by Galway Kinnell

before the skylines slip into the sea
before the moon disintegrates into debris
and extinction is a welcome mat at our feet

before all the languages fuse into one conch shell
before wave foam solidifies into hieroglyphs
and libraries turn our histories to ash

before the bones go their way without us
before the skin slips into the highway weeds
and the hair goes slender along spider webs

before the heart succumbs to its arrhythmia
before the after that is after all these losses
and the brain descends into Lethe’s waters

before we are nothing more than a palimpsest
of brain waves and penned sentences
before our lives become pages folding

closed in a book that no longer bears our story
what shall we do with the fragility of all
that we are and the little beauty we see?



Simone Muench is a recipient of an NEA fellowship and author of six full-length books, including Wolf Centos (Sarabande, 2014). She’s an editor of the collaborative writing anthology They Said (Black Lawrence, 2018) and serves as a poetry editor for Tupelo Quarterly, faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review, poetry editor for JackLeg Press, and founder of the HB Sunday Reading Series.

Jackie K. White is the co-author, with Simone Muench, of Hex & Howl (BLP, 2021). A former professor at Lewis University, her poems and translations have appeared in APR, Tupelo Quarterly, Pleiades, and others. She also has collaborative work forthcoming in the following anthologies: Sonnets from the American (Iowa Press), Between Paradise and Earth: Eve Poems (Orison Books), and Processing Crisis (Risk Press/Saint Mary’s College of California).