1. Home
  2. Poetry Magazine
  3. Poems
  4. Unemployment (1) by Mark Levine
Unemployment (1)

Related Poem Content Details

I had a calling.
I took the call.
It was all I could do to follow the voice streaming into me
Like traffic on the runway where I lay
Down to gather.
I had a calling. I heard the geese bleat
In the firmament as they migrated
Into the jet’s jets.
And could I have foreseen that falling
I could have fallen too
Rather than being sutured to the bottomless
Freeze-out lake.
For it is fine to lie within one’s borrowed blankets
Looking up at the
Dropped ceiling coming down.
For at the moment I am employed counting the holes
In the sound absorbing tiles
Keeping a running record of the interlocutor’s
Chides.
I feel at one with extinction
By my own hand
(Inner hand)
Though once there were many of my kind
Flocking inland, or perhaps
It felt that way.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2012)

More from this issue

This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Unemployment (1)

Related Poem Content Details

  • Mark Levine is the author of four books of poetry: Debt (1993), Enola Gay (2000), The Wilds (2006), and Travels of Marco (2016). His poetry has appeared in a number of anthologies, including American Poets in the Twenty-First Century: The New Poetics (2007) and American Hybrid (2009), among others. His work of nonfiction, F5: Devastation, Survival, and the Most Violent Tornado Outbreak of the 20th Century (2007), is a history of the outbreak of 148 tornadoes across the United States in early April 1973. He has written for magazines, including the New York Times Magazine, Outside, the New Yorker, and Bicycling magazine.
    Levine is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. An associate professor of poetry at the University of Iowa, Levine has taught in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop since 1999. 

  • Poem Categorization

    If you disagree with this poem's categorization make a suggestion.
  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Other Information