Jessica Goodfellow

FOG CENTO

A foggy translucence covers the world.
From fog to snow to frost to the crystals growing outward on threads of light,
the transcripts of fog
spill over my faint lines and anyone could cross me out,
like scrimshaw on the jawbones of whales.

Don’t listen to the chorus of fog, its unbearable
cumuli (their bulky white counter-
shadow on shadow. The cats, as usual
looking for somewhere to dissipate,
learn new songs of despair and delight,
green songs they could not unlearn
in which perspective invents itself
not; like fog no one can keep from disappearing.

 

 Sources by Line

  1. J. Gallagher, “No Encores. No Autographs.”
  2. Cole Swensen, “Thoreau”
  3. Adrienne Rich, “Tattered Kaddish”
  4. Tom C. Hunley, “Self-Portrait as a Child’s Stick Figure Drawing on a Refrigerator”
  5. E. G. Burrows, “Coast Road”
  6. Yerra Sugarman, “One Body”
  7. Stephen Massimilla, “Love Like Rocks”
  8. Karin Gottshall, “Forecast”
  9. Charles Wright, “China Traces”
  10. Jill Alexander Essbaum, “Bird Advice”
  11. Paul Guest, “Questions for Silence”
  12. Elizabeth Onusko, “The Cave Painter”
  13. Lynne Knight, “Living with Fog”

METHOD: Each line of each cento comes from a different poem, as listed above after each cento, line by line. These are poems I’ve particularly been impressed by over the years, and I just mixed and matched lines to make the centos.

Jessica Goodfellow’s books are Whiteout, Mendeleev’s Mandala, and The Insomniac’s Weather Report. She was a writer-in-residence at Denali National Park and Preserve. Her work has appeared in Threepenny Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Awl, The Southern Review, Motionpoems, and Best New Poets, and is forthcoming in Best American Poetry 2018.