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on reading "Derek Jarman's Garden"

Speak to me, friend, long dead
though you are. Tell me of home
there by the sea, of how salt
killed the kale, but spared
the dog-rose. Red Admirals came
to you as they now come to me:
winged and fearless, never far
from our upturned palms.

We suffer a fever, some say,
of tragic proportions. Our sin
is the folly of Sappho, the grief
of Alexander. We are cousin
to mischief, you and I,
my departed brother. You gift
this world with thorny warp
and root-ridden weft.

The quiet house, my still heart,
your books on the table.

It is as if I never left.




A.J. Odasso's poetry has appeared in a variety of publications, including Sybil's GarageMythic DeliriumMidnight EchoNot One of UsDreams & NightmaresGoblin FruitStrange HorizonsStone TellingFarrago's WainscotLiminalityBattersea ReviewBarking Sycamores, and New England Review of Books.  A.J.'s début collection, Lost Books (Flipped Eye Publishing), was nominated for the 2010 London New Poetry Award and was also a finalist for the 2010/2011 People's Book Prize. Their second collection with Flipped Eye, The Dishonesty of Dreams, was released in 2014; their third-collection manuscript, Things Being What They Are, was shortlisted for the 2017 Sexton Prize.  They hold an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University, where they were a 2015-16 Teaching Fellow, and work at the University of New Mexico.  A.J. has served in the Poetry Department at Strange Horizons since July 2012.
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