PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Thomas Kinsella in conversation Jeffrey Wainwright comes to grips with St Chad Hsien Min Toh gives us a Korean perspective Iain Bamforth on Lou and Fritz: Sensible Shoes meets Starstruck Judith Bishop on Love and Self-Understanding in an Algorhythmic Age

This poem is taken from PN Review 218, Volume 40 Number 6, July - August 2014.

‘Cordova Bay Road’ and Other Poems Beverley Bie Brahic
Thought is a Body of Water

Just now it comes back to me—this story I was translating, about a person trapped in a Garden, a bomb falling, the father delayed.

Suddenly I am back where I sat translating the tale (tale of a Garden and something beyond, sometimes a bomb lands in the Garden):

a pub on an estuary; seaplanes buzzing. Hockey game on TV. My small white Mac with its out-of-date operating system. Amber beer, a white head.

(I want to cram as many things as I can into the pub. I want to embalm them in words.)

The story is set in Algeria. The narrator has a fistful of sand.

I am in my mother’s house. Computer on the sofa. Manuscript on the sofa. On the other side of the same body of water. Small planes buzz past. In a tree an eagle’s nest, a house of sticks. Mother in hospital.

“As stream and brook are the boundaries of river in thinking, so the phenomenological world is only meaningful because we can think of something else that bounds it.”

We need the concept of nothingness in order to understand the concept of being, the philosopher says.

The fireplace, the hockey sticks, the puck. The Fraser Delta’s rich alluvial mud. Mud, root muddle…root mother?

A room on the other side of the same body of water.

I’m a little muddled, she says. Or I had such fun with you guys.

Here is the known…experienced with the senses. Here is the unknown of which I can only conceive:

                                   her absence.

Inland Passage

Side by side we watch a ship engage

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image