After Pasternak, 1917 : Magazine : A Public Space

After Pasternak, 1917

Poetry Reginald Gibbons

I hear tongues speaking in people

along my hospital hall,

a kind, jumbled multilingual

choral improvisation that

floats through—the patients’ and healers’

conversing fills the corridor,

following the diagonals

of resignation, or not

knowing, or recovery.

In the whole inmost ward of me,

the beds are filled with slow-moving

remembrances like time-lapse

flower novels. At night, outside

the closed windows within me,

I see tiny fierce stars glitter

at the bare twig tips of winter

elms, lindens, maples—in dark

cold sleep, each branch a midnight

candelabrum of the cosmos.
No. 27

No. 27


Reginald Gibbons is the author of ten collections of poetry, including Last Lake; the book of criticism How Poems Think (both University of Chicago); and the collection of short stories An Orchard in the Street (BOA). With Ilya Kutik, he recently completed a translation of Boris Pasternak’s poems. He is the director of Northwestern University’s new Litowitz Creative Writing Graduate Program.


A Public Space is an independent nonprofit publisher of an eponymous award-winning literary, arts, and culture magazine, and APS Books. Under the direction of founding editor Brigid Hughes since 2006, it has been our mission to seek out overlooked and unclassifiable work, and to publish writing from beyond established confines. Subscribe today, and join the conversation. More


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