November 2003

Seth Perlow


Seth Perlow Seth Perlow comes from Atlanta and is now an undergraduate at Brown University. His work has been published in various magazines including Southern Voices, The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, and Brown's Slip of the Tongue. He is currently doing editorial work for The Brown Journal of World Affairs.
The Wreck Of The California, Aruba    Click to hear in real audio

I've never seen and never will see
any lovely fallen creatures.

óLeo Tolstoy

Time to time, a vessel goes aground
on the rocky side of the island, but
we can build a briny tower lighted
like a star on the empty land, catch what
ships run dry among the choked grass patches.  
Thick-heeled hikers and spry schoolchildren
clamber on boulders, gather smaller stones
to mark their worried presence.  You stack them
into tipsy pillars so tourists might
ease the solitude of sunset-watching
with piled crowds.  So we ballast horrid sights
of seashells, palm trees, beach and quickly learn
rustily to shut our guide-lights' tall stumps,
lest someone climb up, see the view, and jump.  



To My Left    Click to hear in real audio

Nine years old, her eyes were strangers, empty
azure. Screaming autumn sky, the gleam of
braces and 4th grade dooryards, a vacant
blue September we learned early; God smiles
down on us, sees us even through the clouds.

And it was bracing wind blew early leaves
in drifts against our last class window, void
Allison fixed, even as it piled,
stupid on the empty space before her.  
A tumor is something that grows in your
head and must be removed, only that is
not easy.
 Early fall her near eye veered
slowly obtuse, my way. Unruly right
was wildly off November, cutting
turkeys and oak leaves. Construction paper,
pipe cleaners, safety scissors. This red pair
is right-handed, this blue one left.
Stuck small
and frozen in my chair, I watched as clear
left and careening right stared solemnly
between me. Piling leaves, a haze growing
over blue. A brain tumor is something
that messes up your eye and makes you slow
and must be removed only
that is notó

Not looking to me, one cobalt circle
cast solemn deskwards, right foggy pulled to
leaf-humped glass at my back. You'll be missing class a
week or two; the doctors want to fix your eye for you.

Cloudy mid-December, no one mentioned
an empty desk, eyeless comfort, disposed
a day or two of something wrong with her
until beneath our gray-close emptiness
of sky they told us she had died. Allie's
a blue-eyed angel now, and quietly
we dedicate this garden.
 Frost beds of
bark chip, a place where one thin tree will grow.



Seth Perlow: Poetry
Copyright © 2003 The Cortland Review Issue 24The Cortland Review