Poem: On Jasmine

Verity Spott’s “On Jasmine” gathers its energy, as a storm does, until ordinary acts assume extraordinary proportions. The poem operates by a kind of fairy logic: mesmerizing, oneiric, enchanted, with language that surprises and clauses that seem to magnetically adhere. The motions of domestic life are also those of witchcraft. They accumulate, with intent, into world-changing power. What begins as intimate ends with such energy that the speaker of the poem trembles at their power. The poem has been a spell for no less than the total transformation of the world. Selected by Anne Boyer

Credit…Illustration by R. O. Blechman

On Jasmine

By Verity Spott

She washed eleven leaves and thought of her sister.
In the nearly detailed day in the crook of the moon
she makes her hours, ties a ribbon about her waist
and the sky deletes the roof commands

the air to halt, and you are sad.
But listen little sister we’re going to Ithaca soon
in the dawn of our dreams the hermitage sky
of exhaustive moons I will put on my hair

and go on strike again. And the strike will be
for the dead of each hour and I tremble with fear
when I speak my words are scratching the sky
and leak as I helplessly stir in the water.

Eleven rotates, of our tiniest days, the palaces sway
and the huge collapse of the furnace, the arcane
flume, the water tight doors icumen to the stoop of a sea.
The wands await, she said, and the evening flowers away.

for Megan Clifton

Anne Boyer is a poet and an essayist. Her memoir about cancer and care, “The Undying,” won a 2020 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction. Verity Spott is a poet from Brighton, England, whose books include “Hopelessness” (the87press, 2020); “Click Away Close Door Say” (Contraband, 2017); “Coronelles Set 1” (Veer2, 2020); and “Songs of the Morning” (slub press, 2022). Since 2006, Spott has run the monthly poetry and performance event Horseplay in Brighton and also plays cello in the free improv trio In Threads.

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