Three Poems

by Gnaomi Siemens Issue: Spring/Summer 2020

Bodies In Strange Form, In Sorry Plight                            

Killed by the warming, yellowed legs 
cast about. A heavy surface layer, 
a felt of algal growth, far slower along 
the shore. A black-eyed child hurries 
inside. Humid and lethal, the dark-
haired sediment of a false spring 
reintroduces—a longing for tidal 
exposure, the shifting appendages 
of a rocky shore, the vigor of marine 
salt on a sunk cheek keeled home.

Climate Migrant                                    

You are neither one nor the other
but the difference split: human fish.
Forced to flee the clammy comfort
of your cave. The dragon dragged 
off. The sky on your wet skin is pink-
white, peeled back. Slip up the sides 
of grey poles, think settle-in, sleep now. 
This twig home stuck in the cleft fork 
of thin saplings, some hollowed out 
home—too bright an end.

Desert                                            

The bright light cuts clear through
the cracked crab holding my chest 
in place. Its legs, not ribs hold my 
heart in. If I were to swim out now
red shanks would have the run of 
my body. See giant’s paving stones, 
that’s me seeping through the cracks, 
granular dust from a foreign future. 
No one builds like that now. The sea 
creeps closer, a silent clown, impatient 
for more silence. It goes over what was— 
whatever was becomes less, becomes 
killed, until the killer becomes quiet, 
and all that is left is dry, and unmade.



Gnaomi Siemens

Gnaomi Siemens holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University School of The Arts in poetry and literary translation. Her work can be found at Asymptote, Words Without Borders, The Believer, Slice Magazine, EuropeNow Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, Penny Thoughts (UK), and American Chordata, among others in the US and abroad. She has read her translations at The British Library’s Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition in London, was selected by The Poetry Society of New York for a residency at the iconic Mid-Manhattan branch of The New York Public Library, and was a 2019 ALTA Travel Fellow. Her manuscript The Errant was a finalist for GASHER Journal’s first book prize. She lives in New York City. Find her at gnaomisiemens.com,  or on Instagram as @gnaomisiemens.