The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2021

All Issues
FEB 2021 Issue


[Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest]1

synthetic floodgate: elk howl—unleash vase / tit
/ oath—to witness that macho hem i ruffled one—
wasp wine—woof / hunt / (re)forest—shine, oh, tree,
lush in mothered mood, trowel’s glut—see south ebb:
swish of brood, rare ewe whine, farmhouses—
ghostly fish head—daily i start / unbend—
white floweriness (blob)—moth / hood /
footsy—the silver of slit (top pose)—
hetero man he-thirst—stags’ holy sundeath—
lovably lip them-holes, reap arc flicker—
i hound—oh i set to hug hole’s fearless thaw—gown
(foreskin), let me get dishonest: i ply width,
i mouth orb, i meet bone—verb led tuft
inside—i heat—a sweetening middle height.


1 Note on the Construction of the Text

These poems, what I call “divinations,” were created using an online anagramming tool and the source text of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The first line of the corresponding Shakespearean sonnet is borrowed as the title for each divination. The rule I set for myself was that I had to anagram line-by-line, so each line of the divination has the same letters as the corresponding line in the Shakespearean sonnet.

[Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend]

fleshy stud / nip void—holy hurts went stone,
lacy, petty—they bang—you flesh us
—(stun)—another ghost bed—(sung)—i vent / bled quiet—
able transfer / kindness gene / hoofed heart—
sub gushes a hydra—bone note duet—tug it how
i have—teethe, beg, volunteer—gut songs so
they sour—lush furs, sir, sewed up—to to
a soft stammer nags us—coven tilts you
half off—slit (reentry)—a hiving fact—who
woofed—they test soft chests, fully heed
teeth—echo a whole glen / burst neon thaw—
i sat—ache at / watch a nova (deep cut)—bullet
thumbed, bony amethyst bud—wet it—hut us
lush, witches—i doe, hex, butter, cove.

[Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?]

hum or hue—domesticity casts a raw hush—
joyless sets (wet, torn)—whitewashed twig /
toy twitch—hive’s hue—clove thaws the hour—
i set ulcer / rose wreath—lean pine thieves—
fecund fount / cold deli—nowhere rusts to
here—unbidden, it is a monday—roof fern /
housewife honeydew—etch the clot dot by
hustling it—throated hunt—shapeless son (
wideness) woman-son—unhook tag—tart herb—
amateur checkerboard—(hiss)—i lie /
i lie more (nymphs branching)—add pelt—dash
(a long neon one)—i pond so (swelling heat)
phone song / cable mess—semen swigs (hygiene)—
tit photo / girl(ish) lush—sweet nesting.

[Mine eye hath play'd the painter and hath stell'd]

heap name thinly (heart / epithet)—a dandy /
boy—butterfly mayhem—a fresh no at it—
me: shady hole—friends (myth), i tire / web—
a ripped (repair) stitched attentiveness
to femur hue—tiger so hunt—phase / history /
mud / heredity—lung (water to cure)—if i rope
him (sash on thigh)—symbolic gown (i snip
width / swath)—idols haze wet—hint: hag-thin /
androgynous—eyes shoes (wow)—fat he-tree—
feathery meadow / ashen hind—enemy pant / shiver—
say, i hurt—a gown worn butters wet (home)—shred he
to hole—anesthetize tip (edge) then grope
hyacinth / sanguine newt—tree rot / stag cry—tie
the house down (tent)—why that water (they break).

[Those petty wrongs that liberty commits,]

to crypt—to mesh—shy, genital stem—brow / tit /
testament—momentary he-womb—i hear fish
(flat eye) fry subtly—hit / welt unabashedly—
if oral mutt, then low woof—leather strip (lots
of ornate teeth)—weed lung / hornet—abort
the beauteous root or fleshed area—tit abuse
(a shadow want); a woman now owns no shame—
suave level: eel—livers ill with hard, holy pear
/ amethyst tea—tug that: memory—i free boy-sub
by untying (hydrates)—nudity / arch / heat—today
i her (invite nether-hate / heel)—root dew
thawed—butch: word / fur / flare—took her to (rotate)
them to the bath (the ruby tinge)—eyes pry
at gay belt—a boy: yes—bite fig / he / hymn.


Trevor Ketner

Trevor Ketner is the author of the 2020 National Poetry Series-winning book [WHITE] (University of Georgia Press, 2021). They’ve received fellowships from Poets House, Lambda Literary, The Poetry Project, and Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2021

All Issues