Gilad Jaffe is an Iowa Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Originally from New York City, he holds a BA in Written Arts from Bard College where he was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Colorado Review, Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Iowa Review, and TriQuarterly, among others. Gilad has received generous support from the Abrons Arts Center in New York, PEN America, and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. He is currently at work on his debut collection.
I turn the oldest lights in the room
on first & then the second oldest.
These are the youngest. The landlord
downstairs, slapping paint on the stoop
like a Greek fisherman tenderizes
an octopus against a rock. They smack it
up to 100 times & rub it around
in a circle. This is to drain the body
of its seawater & make it softer.
Moses disobeyed God by striking a stone
twice for its water. He could not trust
that God would provide for his community.
Studies have shown that the Namibian
fogstand beetle sits in the early morning
mist, collecting water on its back, angled
at 45° so the water droplets roll along
its tightened wings & into its mouth.
By no means can we take this mercy lightly.
– The Chattahoochee Review
POEM TO KEEP YOU COMPANY
All ears: The boat is in the trees. Inlets,
royal poincianas, the rain! One & one & one
all the same. An owl with a wingful of eggs
is making eyes with you through the window.
Some people call that window a transom.
I’d like to have them all over for breakfast.
Cackleberries & other future-birds make for
something of an ornithological gobbledygook
& New York apartments leave little room
for secrets. The way ice water tastes after
ice cream, the hidden bosom of Abraham.
How Spanish moss pours down onto the planet,
prettier than kudzu, & spills with a radiance
that fills even the hollow places. Maybe
you were never really here in the first place,
staring at zeroes, listening to pictures.
Maybe the way things change is really the way
things tell you their names. The sky today
has been Yes. I got there by looking through
the ceiling-fan, which spliced what I saw
until all I could see was myself seeing
& that seeing was a covenant.
October morning, ’65,
long before the Twins
arrive, Sandy Koufax cracks
his knuckles into monuments.
Cave of the Double Caves:
Threshold to the Garden
of Eden: The body of the mind.
Between the colonnades
of a building, Vitruvius tells us
there should be only greenery
& open air for the health
of our eyes. Koufax walks
into the outfield & cries:
Who by water? Who by fire?
Who by groundout? Who by flyer?
Who caught looking? Who
down swinging? Who by sacrifice?
Who by singing?
– The Iowa Review