No Exit

Jenny Xie


Once we were closer

Unswallowed by analysis
Wild and quick like mirror glass

But slowly we disciplined the mouth
Tamed it into movement

Spooned it clots of sound
from which other clots came

Under scattered blue shadows
sheets turned back and forth
Babbling softly and without end

Language licks inside the temples
Once we enter it

Old fog from which there is no exit

Jenny Xie is the author of Eye Level, recipient of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and finalist for the National Book Award. She lives in New York City.

Image: “Specimen from Antarctica,” 2018. From the National Museum of Natural History.