National Poetry Month: Jessica Piazza

Today, we bring you a poem from Jessica Piazza, author of This is not a sky, which is due out from Black Lawrence Press in November. The following was originally published in Forklift, Ohio.
Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway
after Turner
The weather’s an eddying yellow, above and below.  The windows the riders rely on—
while hurtling miles, sequestered and dry—are wetter than sky.
Those passengers aspirate haze on the panes.
(Before planes, the only conception of fly
was bird-watching, or dreams, or a roof-flung goodbye.)
The damp unframed London’s a wonder beyond.  Behind: a storm.
Behind: the unwinding stories losses cause; the binding a promise obliges; the harms.
Barbed wire on fences of farms.
The relentless memoirs the river writes of the dead.
(But forward.  Ahead.
All metal; all move.)
Their imagined new lives are more real than the truth.
The straining train: all whistle, all wail.  Beneath rails, a tiny canoe sways on swells, its rowers
fogged down, unwell.
Farewell, oh horizonless evening.
(A crossing
is still a leaving.)

RP5_2743Jessica Piazza is the author of two poetry collections: Interrobang (Red Hen Press, 2013) and the chapbook This is not a sky (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming 2014). She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, is a co-founder of Bat City Review and Gold Line Press, and a contributing editor at The Offending Adam.  Learn more at