Robin York  © 2007 All Rights Reserved

Black Box Theatre as Abandoned Zoo

Be very quiet.

The zookeeper is asleep
on the foreshortened bed.

The chimps are learning syntax for their lines.

And the light box operator
is catching black butterflies.


Unavailable Memory

A turtle falls into a mineshaft
and becomes the newest crown
on the oldest totem pole.

A widow climbs eighteen ladders
to exhaust the terrible truth.

In this motel
there’s a screendoor
for every sleeper.

At the butcher shop
a boy in a stroller
hears people talk
about animals.
So far the sounds
he makes
are vowels.

This tiny boat
will carry you
back to your previous lives.
You don’t have to row.
The river runs.

A man stares
at a woman
as she enters
his room.
She is carrying
a potted plant.

She is opening
the blinds.
She is stringing
some words
on vines.

Father? … Father … Father … Father

A man stares
at a woman calling
him Father.

You may still feel
the twin who dissolved
as your shadow side.

The travelers’ soles clack
the cobblestones.

Their necks strain
to support their skulls
tilting up toward

the water tower! How it sways.


Righting Narcissus

I might have to

into the water myself
to save

him, I might have to

in vigorous circles
or yell

the names of every other
beauty he’s missing:

aphid, iris, bullfrog…

or I could skip a
stone, I

could spook him, or fake
a windstorm

with a set of palm fronds,
or just fold this

into a boat
to leave a wake.

Dana Elkun
Copyright © 2007


Dana Elkun received an MFA from University of Washington and was a national finalist for the Ruth Lilly Fellowship in 2003. Her poems have appeared recently in Bellingham Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Crab Creek Review, MARGIE, and Puerto del Sol.  Dana lives in Seattle where she teaches poetry for Writers in the Schools and at Richard Hugo House.


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