Zachary Bos




Most memories don’t last. They come to an end
like trees whose roots can’t cling any longer
to the thin soil at the edge of the cliff,
who crash with a tearing, clamorous noise
to the bottom of a deep gorge, where soon
the eyeless termites and damp-heeled fungi
set to work dismantling the bodies.
But—the optimism of that word gleams
like sunlight coming through leaves, doesn’t it?—
some memories are preserved. It happens
the way a tree by luck might chance to fall
into the stream instead of the dark gorge,
where a silt blanket pulls over the wood
and citrines slowly curdle in the seams.


"How to Resist"

When you find yourself feeling the cosmos
is merely a system of accidents
I suggest you take to mind the comfort
of the knowledge that there is a purpose
crisscrossing space, and you are part of it,
part of the plan that makes a whole of parts,
and not any less part of it than is
the summer heat-haze shimmering over
the asphalt ribbon of road—that movement
which proves that unseen beings are holding
the corners of the fabric of the air
and are shaking it. Believe in such things
if you can't stand a world devoid of ghosts;
if you must resist the world the way it is.


XIII. The world scoffs at old ideas. It distrusts new ideas. It loves tricks.
- Roger Shattuck, “Nineteen Theses on Literature”

Precursors to petals on a black bough,
seedpods in the donkey-ear foliage
bauble verdant on the cucumbertree
like bulgy chartreuse pricks jutting helter-
skelter from the branches. They look like scale
models of rearing emerald adders paused
just before the jaw spasms to swallow
a hedge bird landed foolishly too near.
What this description does not tell you is
how they are also like taut green gherkins;
like disembodied green metacarpals;
like the skins of popped balloons shriveled up
into tight green rubber knots. Any one
image is not the whole story; distrust it.


 Copyright © 2012 Zachary Bos


Zachary Bos has worked for and with various literary journals, including Fulcrum and News from the Republic of Letters. His current book-length projects include a redacted Koran and a new book of imaginary beings, examining certain creatures omitted in Borges' first volume. The poems in this issue of Tower Journal come from a manuscript in progress, The Wonder Reflex, consisting of sonnets and sonnetish poems