plain china: best undergraduate writing

Volume One : Issue Two

Eulogy of an Irishman


by Carey Powers

...if only they could speak good by Meghan Nelson ...if only they could speak good by Meghan Nelson

The whole lane’s gone blind—
hooded statues, pallbearers, drowsy
mothers shade their downcast vision.

Encircling, vultures sweep black brooms
across the fragile currents of the sky,
an aimless glory. From a distance comes

the sound of trumpets, cruel applause,
fibbed tales and pranks that shook
the days with wonder, our first humor,

which cannot at all be saved.
It is hard enough to save oneself,
to be the arch upon a sea of stone.

The snowfall has stopped short of record, leery
on the bight, on the black fishermen
soldiering the shallows in silence.

Young days were jack-in-the-boxes,
thimblefuls of milk exploding, fun of boys
on inclines, cliffs. I am afraid

but not for you. Men bring in writhing
nets from the sea. Thimbles are trivial,
but what I know is this. You, my friend,

were a magnificent ass. I get up in the night
to gasp about you and to close the window,
tyrannizing. From the back of the closet,

canaries take flight into clanging chains.
The greatest argument has turned its back;
a cheapened boat has moored and I

cannot leave the thin veins of the sea.
My arms are unburdened and easy,
but a thought dashes—laughs the deep gut dry.

The open world fills the pub. I am certain
the impossible lives here in the casks,
harboring all delight, all gloom as one.

The spot of sun looks like an eye
blind with sadness, the alpine summit.
Awful heaviness! Shuffling, heads down,

ghosts march the west plank,
looking not for predecessors,
unless they desire refuge, and plunge.

About the Author


Carey Powers

Bennington College

Carey Powers is from the mountains of Southern California and aspires to concentrate in literature.