Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with those affected by generations of structural violence. You can help »

The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2017

All Issues
MAY 2017 Issue
Critics Page

The Anxious Journey


Giorgio de Chirico, La ricompensa dell’indovino (The Soothsayer’s Recompense), 1913. Oil on canvas, 53.4 × 70.9 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950. © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome. Courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.



Before I boarded,
I gorged myself on banana and pineapple,
Folded and unfolded my softest gloves,
Ran a hard comb through the sweat of my hair,
Kissed my mother on the forehead,
Kissed my son on the nose,
Kissed my wife on the neck,
Held myself in my arms,
Kissed the conductor on the mouth,
Thinking that a difference could be made,
And then I boarded the strange train
And the reassuring moan of the locomotive
Made me think of the Canada geese
I pelted with bread, the warm fact of them,
Made me for a moment forget the journey
I spent my life readying for, though I still,
As the train thundered off
As my fingers rapped gently on the darkening window
Of my final thought,
Saw the whole map fan out before me: inexorable, flat.




Michael Dumanis

MICHAEL DUMANIS is the author of the poetry collection My Soviet Union, winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry. He teaches at Bennington College.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2017

All Issues