Maxine Chernoff

Barbara Scotto_3

For every appetite there is a world.

You starred in the movie with Maud Gonne and Socrates and Juliet and a flock of sparrows that were a fixed point like the spire of a cathedral but made of feathers. You were naked and clothed and wearing nothing visible except when you sat or stood or began to speak, and then the words were made of black yarn and your fingers held them as in an outline of reverie. You were there and not there and when I partially held you, the idea of you faded into a hint of light tinged by a window in the westernmost sky. And under the window, your face was not intimate as those of persons one loves but vaguer and therefore more intimate in its shadowed complexity. If water is proof of thirst and the knowable self-enclosed like a satisfied hour with a book, then stories can end as they begin without the suffix of time and its pressures. You starred in the movie, and certain necessities fled like figures animated by their own recognition.

* *

Image: Barbara Scotto

ChernoffMaxine Chernoff 's first prose poems were influenced by Julio Cortázar and Clarice Lispector. She continues to be a fan of Latin American literature. She is chair of Creative Writing at SFSU, editor of New American Writing and the 2009 PEN USA Translation Award winner with Paul Hoover for the Selected Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin. The author of 14 books of poems, most recently To Be Read in the Dark (Omnidawn 2011) and Without (Shearsman 2012); her next book, Here, from which this poem is taken, will be published by Counterpath Press is 2014. She is a 2013 NEA Fellow in poetry and a recent Visiting International Scholar at Exeter University in Devon, England.
FotoVMValeria Meiller studied literature at the University of Buenos Aires and is now an editor, cultural critic, teacher, and translator. She has published two books of poems, El recreo (2010) and the co-authored work Prueba de soledad en el paisaje (2011). She is currently at work on her next book, El mes raro (2013). She is a fan of North American literature, and especially of writers from her generation, like Megan Boyle and Tao Lin, both of whom she and Lucas Mertehikian have translated for Dakota Editora. A few North American poets, Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop among them, as well as short story writers like Lorrie Moore and the Canadian Alice Munro, played an important role in her decision to become a writer.

Published on June 14th of 2013 in Poetry.

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