from Above the Law

Administration on Aging (Carpodacus mexicanus)

I am the old man at the foot of the guardhouse, waiting for an audience with the law.

I no longer believe in memory.

Its strength is listening. Mine is revelation: the hoarseness of my word, the hair in my ear, the withering muscle about my midsection.

A silence falls. You say you have found four of the five things you sought.


National Eye Institute (Poephila bichenovi)

A device that translates the senses, transcribes the tree, the far-off chart, the blushing cheek, from an alphabet of sight

into an alphabet of heat. You move

in the dark, turning over, bending knees, grasping pillow, perching, and I witness the slow exchange

as a migratory lake of yellow, bordered by shores of green sand, at the edge of savannah grasses.


Jeff Encke has recently published Most Wanted: A Gamble in Verse, a deck of playing cards featuring excerpts of love letters written to Saddam Hussein and other war criminals, available at His poetry has recently appeared in Barrow Street, Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, Octopus Magazine, Salt Hill, 3rd Bed, and Quarterly West, among others.