This week in the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America features a poem by Emily Hunt, whose first book of poems, Dark Green, is now available from The Song Cave. 



A row of trees.
A crackhead asleep at the library.
Air conditioning.
The ill.
An equilateral triangle.
A woman barking.
A poster, a painting, liquid, bread.
A hand through a wall.
Another parabola.
Regard all that occurs as
a few shallow stairs.

A horse lying in a forest.
A dark tale of the Western frontier.
A teenager in Ohio.
An unbelievable amount of bats, in streams of hundreds.
A second, secret vocation.
An arrow, surprising anyone.
A weapon / sleep
“what are we going to do with the rest of our lives”
“what is left of us”
A performing leopard
Curls of bark
The lamps
A famous man, a singer you feel for
A wet computer in a bag of rice
A candle a flame a face on a banner
A parking garage, a heavy round tree
The feathers on the breasts of certain parrots are strictly yellow
In ravens, only the exposed portion exhibits iridescence

A plastic bottle
A perfect piece of toast, he died
The cat returning through a hole in the bedroom screen, he did die
Groceries, dark metals and wine, he died collecting gold
The written world without an eye to move it, he’s dead and such
A toaster sound / the phone his face is gone
He bought it with the cash he made raking leaves and filling black bags
Settled into an endless lush slope of ivy overlooking a parking lot, he’s just dead
A black plastic suit, a coin in the dirt
You were in this town in the rain, but he’s dead it’s a city
What you said made me picture the earth, dying
A circle of women shifted to let in two men, one was dead I think
A room of velvet that collapses when you find it, there’s a dead person in it
I went into the dark square and turned on the light
HD he’s dead
New York he’s crossing the water
He’s carrying me
A train in the rain on the plain and all that scenery
Brain of the morning say you’re frightened, not afraid
Nature, he crosses you, he’s through

Thrill of the plain
deer and their mother

walking on a mirror
in the meadow unavoidable
showing against many hours
he had been more
it was like Lucy, John
a form on the wall
I can’t imagine, Irene said
and she wasn’t him

he died at me, unclassically


painted body inches over a blossoming elm

sewagey puddle

mosquito on bus cloth

ticket in the pocket

Civic, Galant, Hyundai, Accord


it was kind of one way for a while
for a long time it had been like that


no one could stop him
none of us
The thought of him occurs
it’s a liberty
a slap in the face
A mark to the senses
Unsymmetrical, death verges on life
it’s a liberty
it’s passionate until it is silent
that’s when it stops, enticingly
death throws itself at anything, in all of the words
he wasn’t alive
A little glow worm, a little kid
Zazie in the metro, zombie on the light rail
walking along I pull a tree from the earth
no one sees me
(It’s a feeling, like death)
Now it’s lying in front of me
and the yellow lines of the crosswalk are lying under it
and the heavens are below
the twilight zone and all that
and all those people crossing made it fast to keep going
so I’m with them shopping
I turn my head underground and sense and see the concrete go by
there are holes in it where the air sits and then drifts, tinyish
It’s like sand like that
But cold
they don’t feel it, I feel death
motioning at my kidself
I visited Ocean Beach
There were kids his age looking at the Sea


not that
beauty a black stripe
long hair, come back, not even that
but now I had
a key in hand
sunny day, purple highway
both are true, believing in the end
he is waters, snow, went to hell came back blank
saw the fire, saw the ash
let it down, fell out
for the soil
weeds the world of pines
pines in their place /  places
blue flags in the shrubbery, like blue flags in the woods
a wet computer in a bag of rice, and the dead one came through the door


the video was
an almost lifeless seed
and then bulbs, roots, shoots,
what tends to be shut out
from the top half of the world


man with zinc on his mask shape
sitting on a white Rambler in the new world
baby foot against my thigh on the J
White glasses in winter
White shades in winter, warm December
Black pieces with white / black shades underground
Lifted blue
Blue shirts on the lap
Folding smalls with words on them, folding large ones, turning the sleeves back


hands grimed in customer cash

the sky floats
like air conditioning
the dead live

the dead breathe
the sun sets

the filth I had traversed
the dirt the clan weighed down
with thought, which



sank along

blank curtain to the floor, sand at the neck, he was a thing so long ago was more than that he slept, far apart
stairs carved out of dirt
camera obscura, the waves so cloudy
a pewter plate, coated with a layer of asphalt, it was something I read
middle of the country, my ghost cloud around
buoy hanging in the bathroom, he’s in the flower,
there is no substitute

The areas of the asphalt exposed to light hardened.
The unexposed parts were washed out with lavender oil and turpentine.

Many knights have left their lives here, I shall soon have made an end of you too,

Many knights have left their lives here, I shall soon have made an end of you too,

my ghost cloud around
dances by the train
my death game

I waver
and fade
if you close

The door
The night could last forever
Leave the sun

Shine out
and drink a toast
To never












I took a walk with the palm trees
As the daylight fell


Ta a a a allk in to myself


death runs clear
like blood like of that ghost
who lives
it’s not an error

a dangerous fourth page
a bright slope of yellow
over a good face

a dancer dragging
a partner flat
her sweat is real
across it slowly but she won’t get through
the people’s furniture




my ghost cloud around
the union office downtown
brown hair black leather chair rose in a cup ice breakers gum rainbows on the shirts pinned to the wall, a tack at
      the neck, tacks at each corner and shoulder
Fishermen sorting skeletal crabs, they’re alive, no haunted eyes
They have no soul his death is spreading the photo
Mexico, Namibia, a molded carcass of a ship named Eduard, wrecked at Conception Bay in 1907, it’s moving
An isolated rural community, it’s alive
An ox carved out of soft wood, it’s so beautiful it only looks like an animal
A chest of drawers, there is life-alivliving
A chest with legs and flowers, a dark green chest
Sand in a bedroom,
Double doors, a table and its matching bench
Mud / snow in them, blood
A relief with lions and pomegranates, a dark natural finish
Three women looking down, heavy gathered cloths hanging behind them like animals


it says in the same language
where my brother is dead
and my sister is walking
over a row of strange all-color rings in New York


Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the PEN Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they are published (no spam, no news, just poems).