Bureau of

By Joyelle McSweeney Joyelle McSweeney
This is the body of,
waiting to turn on.

graced with a little tremor,
a little-known form, a fibrous hook,
a flimsy lever that makes the jar work

a lever and a clasp

:voila. The pathetic filofax
unfurls, the owl describes;
on air; makes an apse; lopes left

off the phonepole, woodenly.
we rise above the wind park,

our whorled fossil, pinned open.
our emergency kit
holds aspirin. digitalis. adrenalin-in-in.

Joyelle McSweeney, “Bureau of” from The Commandrine and Other Poems. Copyright © 2004 by Joyelle McSweeney. Reprinted by permission of Joyelle McSweeney.

Source: The Commandrine and Other Poems (Fence Books, 2004)

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Poet Joyelle McSweeney

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, The Body, Nature, Animals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Joyelle  McSweeney


Joyelle McSweeney was born in Boston and spent most of her childhood in suburban Philadelphia. She has a BA from Harvard University; an MPhil in English studies from Oxford University, where she was a Marshall Scholar; and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

McSweeney’s collections of poetry include The Red Bird (2002), winner of the 2001 Fence Modern Poetry Series, and The Commandrine and Other Poems (2004). . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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