Seth Jani

We Come from Water
The water is what’s first,
Proverbial fish
Like flash pan cinders,
The underneath full
Of bright-lit coral,
Unlikely conjugations:
Orpheus’s head
Singing beside
My grandma’s bones,
Also singing.
When we awake
In a body we find
The trees don’t talk,
Though there is pleasure
In the cold-washed light,
Alembic on stiff limbs,
The uncrossable boundaries.
Not like this in the hereafter:
Slogged with gold, with black star-shine,
With the confluence of all our days.
That place is full aquatic:
Shifty columns, groundswell doors,
Someone’s locker stuffed with shrimp,
With the siren’s shuddered tempo.
Also our ancestors, hanging their
Pale green lamps on the colossal wrecks
Of ancient trees.

Who painted the country
That was bigger than anything
He ever imagined?
Who protracted great oil-spills
Of blue across the evening sky?
By the end of the dream
He had barely stepped foot
Beyond the river, but that other world
Stretched on for days.
Waking up he could still taste
The pollen in his mouth,
Could feel the stones
With their metallic skins.
Between darknesses
The constellations were jointed
Together like odd machines.
Between memories
The landscape was reduced
To cryptographic birds.
The only remaining thing
Was a single green plume
In the dreamer’s eye.

The Cellist
He strings the night wind
In his varnished bow.
It resembles the blur
Of winter trees,
The intermediate mind
Confused in death,
Some aphonic creature
Stirring up the depths.
When he plays it
The world is glossed
In shadows.
The edges blend like water,
The logician’s palace
Fills with empty rooms,
Even the sunlight
With its sure dimensions
Breaks down into varied fractals.
Only the birds in the landscape after dark
Know how to ride that music.
Their wings turning indistinguishable
From the night itself.

Seth Jani currently resides in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress ( His own work has been published widely in such places as The Chiron Review, El Portal, The Hamilton Stone Review, Hawai`i Pacific Review, VAYAVYA, Gingerbread House, Gravel and Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. More about him and his work can be found at