Joan Caska

This Year Will Take From Me

What is it like there, right now?
The cool flash of what serious is—
the ice has begun to unclench.

What will happen. All this leaving. And meetings, yes. But death
falling on each of us, the departed and the leaving.

The dead man looked like this. No, that.

The landscape usually contains the solution to what’s lost.
Out the window I can see dead leaves ticking over the flatland.
The few birds at my feeder watch the window.
It is as if we have all been lowered into an atmosphere of glass.

The eyes of a thin woman sixty-three years old search the shadows.
Vaults, cages, bars, curbs, bits, bolts, fetters.
Invisible, our ghosts starve, while the rest of the world keeps on eating.

To the one who sets a second place at the table anyway:
Come and carry me there
Let us poem a place where you cannot erase us into white space.


Source & Method

This piece, including title, consists of one or more lines sourced from each of the following poems (in alphabetical order by poet’s name): Anne Carson’s “Three and The Glass Essay”; Renee Gladman’s “Proportion Surviving”; Eliza Griswold’s “Ruins”; Mark Halliday’s “The Missing Poem”; Susan Kinsolving’s “Trust”; Judy Loest’s “Faith”; Varsha Madhulika’s “Oh The Stealing Steps…”; Dionisio D. Martínez’s “Flood: Years of Solitude”; Jean Valentine’s “Sanctuary”; Tanaya Winder’s “Missing More than a Word.”


Joan Caska works as a digital marketing specialist, editor and creative writer. She primarily writes literary flash fiction and prose poetry, and has a passion for experimental writing and literary criticism. She enjoys helping others achieve their writing goals in workshops and writing groups throughout upstate NY.



Issue 23