Flat seas, frozen axe.
The levelling force of vortex.
Daughter, my laughter >
faster and faster.
The man in my body com-
posing a poem > his fox-box.
Dreams demanding I give up sleep
that heaves me, harrowed, elsewhere—
Stoat approaching, also crow, I’m
at the window
slipping into thinness of erasure;
nothing in the foreground
Questions and Answers
What motivated you to write this poem? How does the poem reflect this inspiration?
This poem begins with a skewing of a line by Franz Kafka written in a letter to his friend Oskar Pollak: “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us,” and unfolds with a kind of automatic force, pulling in images and ideas from here and there like a tornado. The poem takes up Kafka’s “belief” and descends with it to the point of “erasure”—where the notion of presence is destabilized.