Danielle Blau

Two poems from Danielle Blau’s peep

followed by a note on the author


There is an order. Such an order.
Each event a word that must be read
or else, my friend — Today I woke up shorter,

sleep playing pestle to my twin bed’s mortar,
me the poor shaved meat. But no regret —
an order to these things, you see, there’s order.

Each man a crack at playing cosmic sorter.
Within each uncracked code-shell is a threat.
Today, take notice; time is getting shorter.

Two speckled eggs. Omens from the Lord, or
Nature, the clouds, some darker silhouette.
Listen, my friend: what they say’s an order.

And at this moment’s close, you’ll cross the border
into the moment after — seems no end
of days lived longly but they’re short and shorter

at each turn, the world speaks: I record her
though she only talks in languages long dead,
there is an order — yes — an awful order
my friend, wake up! Your shadow’s growing shorter.



I Am the Perennial Head of This One-Person Subcutaneous Wrecking Crew

To maintain these depths of misery
takes work given my buoyant disposition;
for every sill of my flesh
I must invent a new method to flay.
Few people know inside your skin

is a microscopic garden.
With love I tuck in seeds
of its destruction late
each night, daily tend my

dear ruin — knot distant, unsuspecting
clovers at their root tips; stomata full of
rodent bones, down

they go, the pond lilies: I’m strict. Who
could love you like you.


Danielle Blau’s Rhyme or Reason: Poets, Philosophers, and the Problem of Being Here Now is forthcoming from W.W. Norton. Her collection mere eye was selected for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Award and published with an introduction by D.A. Powell, and her poems won first place in the multi-genre Narrative 30 Below Contest. Poetry, short stories, articles, and interviews by Blau appear in The Atlantic, Australian Book Review, The Baffler, The Literary Review, Narrative Magazine, The New Yorker’s book blog, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, several volumes of the Plume Anthology of Poetry, and elsewhere. A graduate of Brown University with an honors degree in philosophy, and of New York University with an MFA in poetry, she curates and hosts the monthly Gavagai Music + Reading Series in Brooklyn, teaches at Hunter College in Manhattan, and lives in Queens. You can learn more about her at danielleblau.com.

Villanelle was first published in Narrative Magazine; and I Am the Perennial Head of This One-Person Subcutaneous Wrecking Crew was first published in The Paris Review.