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Ryan Dzelzkalns


adrift, no wife


It’s early yet. Crocuses, buttercups.
Later, the hawthorn will bloom
riotous up and down Malcolm X—

      no, flowers aren’t news,
      but they can be shocking
      after a winter of salt and garbage.

      (The garbage doesn’t go away,
      of course, just gets lifted
      on stalks of grass.)

I want you to be happy again
but I can’t see what you need.
There are flowers that bloom in the dark.

We step into St. John’s briefly,
try to imagine the ceiling
before electricity, the columns

disappearing from all candle-light,
the roof a firmament in fuligin
      this another secret we share,

a language to imagine
before or after in the same frame,
a green moon, a dying sun.

 What I’m trying to say
is wishing has nothing to do with it
even when you just want it to be over— 

      like trying to convince
      someone to love you
      who already loved you.



last living wife

If we are all dead,


                          New personal best. 

You have survived

                                 the last person

                     to misunderstand you.

Binary star

                                  in a blank sky.

                    Event horizon. You are

 the last frontier.

                      A new algebra needed

                    to solve this loneliness.

Your failure

                                outlasts all else.

                Even among twins, one is

 dead last.






Ryan Dzelzkalns has work appearing or forthcoming with Assaracus, DIAGRAM, The Offing, Rattle, Tin House, and others. He completed a BA at Macalester College where he received the Wendy Parrish Poetry Award and an MFA at NYU. He works for the Academy of American Poets and is the tallest man in New York.