Spr/Sum 04

I Must Say


Now that we have come so far together, so much water gone under the bridge, and now that the shadows lengthen around us, I feel that I must say some things that are difficult for me to say. . . . This is a world of plague bearing prairie dogs and freshly fried flesh. Where is the fish sauce shop, and when did the Irish wristwatch shop shut? Are our oars oak? Are the sheep asleep in the shed? I cannot give you specific statistics but surely the sun will shine soon. Surely the sun will shine on the stop signs and on the twin-screw steel cruisers.

I have lain awake nights thinking of how to say this. I can only hope that what these words lack in meaning will be somehow compensated for by your understanding of my need to say them, and by your knowing that these words are meant for you. Though who you are in this context is never made clear, and it is quite possible that you, yourself, do not know.

Louis Jenkins lives in Duluth, Minnesota. His poems have been published in a number of literary magazines and anthologies, including Kenyon Review, Paris Review and American Poetry Review. His books of poetry include An Almost Human Gesture (Eighties Press and Ally Press, 1987), All Tangled Up With the Living (Nineties Press, 1991), Nice Fish: New and Selected Prose Poems (Holy Cow! Press, 1995, Just Above Water (Holy Cow! Press, 1997) and The Winter Road (Holy Cow! Press, 2000. Two of his prose poems were published in The Best American Poetry 1999 (Scribner, 1999)

A new book of his prose poems, Sea Smoke, will be published by Holy Cow! Press in fall 2004.