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The Stars


By Giles Goodland

Events sustain long enough to be things:

tornado, argument, long journey

in which it is clear from the cage

how the high-beam tracks the nameless

skimmed trees. Each event finds on the road

that it itself is the wrenched twig, blurring.

That dull bruise on the horizon marks

where the sun is no longer—exit

wound, punched hole—followed by

the thin moon cycling towards the next tree,

seen from the minibus’s diminishing light.

One star is the same as another.

We are those without names,

crude topographers of wind.

Thoughts pull themselves out: they

become words. Press your phone

against your ear: the sentence’s chains

haul you up and land you here.


By Giles Goodland

Days speak roughly of previous days.

Inside each shapeless thing a crystal sharp

edge aspires. What matter is? Ask what it

does: a wet dog shaking until there’s no

dog. Longer than an eclipse, a thought.

The jarred bird flies out, jarring. Rooks

hop from headstones, a screw against

the fence a stay against impermanence.

Dark bells ring in the tanks the souls

are dark too and exhausted until we come

to lock them in wooden chests

and dead moths spill from their urns.

I saw the state totter and steady, heard

songs tremble and write themselves.

Giles Goodland's books include Of Discourse (Grand Iota 2023). A Spy in the House of Years (Leviathan, 2001) Capital (Salt, 2006), Dumb Messengers (Salt, 2012) and The Masses (Shearsman, 2018). Civil Twilight was published by Parlor Press in 2022. He has worked as a lexicographer, editor, and bookseller, and teaches evening classes on poetry for Oxford University's department of continuing education, and lives in West London. 

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