Summer 2009

Table of Contents - Vol. V, No. 2


Poetry    Essays    Translations    Fiction   

Nina Forsythe


Theory of Travel I

What you want is childhood---
not childhood but its sensations

everything new and unfamiliar.
For this you'd travel far:

stairs stacked like precarious
piles of books, strings of vines

rappelling down sheer cuts,
terror of the tidal pull of crowds.

You are not the informed traveler,
armed with names and dates

and some useful phrases,
for whom destination is validation.

You like to travel unprejudiced
by expectation, in spite of the risk

or because of the risk: will
the world catch you when you fall?

You peel off your identities,
leave your bags in the stuffy hotel

room with the crippled ceiling fan,
and stride onto the playground

of the senses, eager to be whirled
in the mad dance of competing cries,

the jangle of bells and gold bangles,
screeching, long-tailed birds on sticks.

You wade into a profusion of
flowers: what's that yellow one,

that red spiky one, the one
with petals like goldfish fins?

Everything stripped to primer simplicity:
flower, yellow, red, fish.

Nameless, nameless—everything
without a history of experience,

your once-reliable senses
unmoored by caterpillars

that look like flowers, shells
like teeth, moss like sandpaper.

Suddenly the street becomes
a blurred wash of colors;

you hear a cloud of music
with a heavy clash of odors....

A woman is propping you up
saying something insistently,

holding a cup to your lips.
Without hesitation, you drink.


Imagining Eternity

You were asking me about eternity,
which always calls up images of immense
space suffused with a golden glow
and a sense of unreality.

I was looking out the window absently
into the dusk, wondering how
to answer and tired of imponderables.

Far across the valley
a dog barked
and filled the evening
with loneliness,
and I ached for this world.

How I loved it:
the wrinkled green skirts of the mountains
enfolding the nestlings and the secret prowlers,
the pastel houses and plain gray ones
all huddled together for companionship,
the trees spreading umbrella-like over them.
And beyond, the Pacific stained orange
with the juice of the sun it eats entire
every evening, and the opaque waters' vastness
as much as I can imagine of eternity.


© Nina Forsythe



Poetry    Essays    Translations    Fiction   

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