Two poems by Jacquelyn Pope

Paused
 
You can’t live in a trap
    but you do, in a trick,
you’re trumped, stumped,
    spun to the side.

Meant to be gone, you
    persist, by nettle
and scratch, worked
    out of whim or words.

Time is a tick, a stop,
    a slur, a blind bit
of balance. You can’t
    live on what’s elapsed

but you have, run up
    in homespun, made up
in lists, hard by the wish
    that holds you snared.
 
 
Strayed
 
In the dream you are a dark shape,
a shadow turning, silent but still alive.
With a wave of your hands you show me
suffering is simple misunderstanding:
mine, repeated like a riddle chasing
after its answer, indifferent to grief.

Day intervenes. The dream dissolves
and with it you are gone again,
for now you cannot stop vanishing.
Still the rage of it hangs in the air
stinging and dirty and burnt, a pyre
heaped around your orphaned heart,
your widowed line, your life, like ash
that sifts through any dream of sleep.
 
 
Jacquelyn Pope is a poet and translator. Her first collection, Watermark, is published by Marsh Hawk Press (New York). Hungerpots, her translations of poems by the Dutch poet Hester Knibbe, is forthcoming from Eyewear Publishing in October 2015. More work here.