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  4. Skyland by Brenda Iijima

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Water spurts incredibly
Clear up under simple feel
And that is how
We drank water
A loon fled
Into water
Because a raven
Could not dive
Or swim. Only spinning is a star
Dizziness       simple
Ceremony appeasing weather
With you sky, with for you sky
A feeling a sky
Heartfelt redolent in June
Roses fume. May day
Perpetual field of velvet horizon
At a slant is the unicorn’s mane
Realization from seed to flower
We made contact chalices
Filled, a sticky sweet
Oenone in layers tissue white
Garb blooming staunchly
Against salt caking waves
Tosses the self
Secret she has into the sea
A volume into silence
Liquid shadow engulfing liquid
Ruin. Dumbess as condition
In generalization
Sea flowers join
Her hair. A music hummed
In the mind otherwise mute
In sedge hats we walk along pulling
Iris and water oats for our vases
Lysistrata’s cool
Logical edge
Lance leaved
Linear leaves
Untoothed edges
Note the fringed beards
And the relatively short
Spurs on this deep yellow
Orange species. Spur
Shorter than that deeply
Fringed lip. Sepals rounded
And curved inward. Thickets

Brenda Iijima, “Skyland” from Animate, Inanimate Aims. Copyright © 2007 by Brenda Iijima. Reprinted by permission of Litmus Press.
Source: Animate Inanimate Aims (Litmus Press, 2007)
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  • Brenda Iijima grew up in North Adams, Massachusetts, and studied visual arts at Skidmore College. After teaching in China for a year, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, where she teaches and edits for Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, a publisher of poetry. Iijima’s collections of poetry include Around Sea (2004), Animate, Inanimate Aims (2007), Subsistence Equipment (2008), Revv. You’ll—ution (2009), and If Not Metamorphic (2010).

    In her work, Iijima addresses the subjects of science, gender, ecology, and history. Alan Davies, reviewing Around Sea, noted that in her poems, “meaning accrues by dint of repeated hint.” If Not Metamorphic is rich in the language and metaphorical implications of geology, and is often driven by sound associations. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the title poem, “composed entirely of questions, sifts and settles across its pages like sediment.”

    Iijima is the editor of eco language reader (2010), a collection...

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