Jeanne Bessette

                                       Jeanne Bessette

Jessica goodfellow

year's end


Autumn is the husk of summer,

winter the husk of autumn.

Nothing is the hull of winter—

cold scaffold of ice and air,

barren bowl of only itself.


Sky is the same mottled white

as ground. The tree branches mirror

the roots, vanishing into another

whiteness. Once again ending

looks startlingly like beginning.


How hard it is to surprise

an old woman, or to amaze a baby.

One sees nothing new, the other

finds everything novel. Both watch

wide-eyed and silent as one year glides


into another, a bell ringing one hundred

eight times. The old woman loses count,

the baby never began a reckoning.

None/the/less, the bell rings and rings                       

and rings until it doesn’t.

The Escapement is the Piece that Makes the Clock Tick


In every season, even winter, night

and day walk hand-in-hand, an endless

chain. Red Rover, Red Rover, the void                                  

calls me over. I slam into the clock face,

snap back into this broken moment.


Cross off one more square on the calendar,

its dry wall of days staggered with gravity

and chance. Pay attention to the verb

in the phrase pay attention: how much it costs

to be, here where even a stone is a beggar.


Timeline, time horizon, time frame—so many

geometric terms and all the while/all the space

we do-si-do with death, dreaming of dimensions.

My grandmother through glass said a poet,

but I heard My grandmother threw glass.


Perhaps she threw a clock face. Or tossed

a stone through one, revealing the gears,

a godspeed of wheels, turning, going nowhere.

Regret is the one way I know to make time

slow down. Make it stop. There, I’ve done it.


There.                          There.          


Jessica Goodfellow’s books are Whiteout (2017), Mendeleev’s Mandala (2015) and The Insomniac’s Weather Report (2014). Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Verse Daily, Motionpoems, and on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac. She was awarded the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize from the Beloit Poetry Journal. Last summer she was a writer-in-residence at Denali National Park and Preserve. She has work published in or forthcoming from Threepenny Review, Passages North, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.