Michael Broek

The Logic of Yoo 23

Monday, the sun rising across the gray, packed-earth path
he attached what he had to her e-mail & hit send, just his notes
& an outline, declared there had been an emergency, what a shame
she didn’t have more time, maybe she could make sense
out of what he had done, still make it to Harvard in the fall
where he now knew there was a great Chicago-style hot dog stand,
if it was still there – there would be no charge.
Or maybe the notes & outline would accrue to something else
in her brain, an irrational map pointing the way out of a confined box
with a small hole near the mouth where she could breathe, or else,
where something could be inserted inside – forceps or a letter
from her future self, rolled up like a Dead Sea scroll.


He drew out an old translation of Vilmorin:


           Oh! The soft steps of the innocents,
           their silences overbrimming
          make so, make, make
          make of an evening dance a country
          where flames will converge,
          these lovers met,
          so the snow melts, the snow
          melts, and melts, and melts.


And he thought he would finish the translations,
which were like a transforming out of his wife’s breath
something the shape of a hot meal they could share, something brilliant
in its use of bitter, at a small table against a window where,
having chosen the wine, its origin, he could begin to explain what
he had done & why, which would lead to a question,
the only one that mattered & in its special way, ever would.



“The Logic of Yoo 23” first appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Fall 2011.