By Irena Praitis

No hood
No spade
No skeletal finger

No ill will
No sweet escape

No justice

Nothing human

No why—

Up against oblivion
Who wouldn’t want a person
Some pernicious soul
To shake a fist at

Or some force to bend toward
Our sense of purpose or fairness

Nothing’s incomprehensible

Not enough presence
For indifference

This blank
We gad about

But never inscribe


Irena Praitis earned her BA from Carleton College, her MA from Washington University, and her PhD and MFA degrees from Arizona State University. She is the author of three poetry collections, Touch, Branches, and Straws and Shadows, a prose-poem biography, One Woman’s Life, and a co-translated collection of poems by the Lithuanian poet Sonata Paliulyte, Still Life.

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