The Lake Is Frozen The Cloud Is Death

I’ve been sleeping late again;
in my dreams, I do work
that cannot be done when awake.

Finally, an indication of the thaw:
soon the birds will return;

the ice, which now reflects
only snow, will blessedly unlatch.

This morning another sky
slips unnoticed into the ice.

It, too, is asleep.

The lake is an inverted volcano:
its pedestal the earth’s cornea,
dull as sandblasted glass.

Here in my dreams, a map
of the unthinking mind.

I press a frozen finger into the frozen eye,
wrap myself around an image:
this forgotten sword, half-eaten with rust.

This sword that does not cut.
This eye that does not bleed.


Martin Rock is the author of Residuum (2015 Editor’s Choice Award, Cleveland State University Poetry Center) and Dear Mark (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013). With Kevin Prufer and Martha Collins, he co-edited an Unsung Masters volume on the work of the poet Catherine Breese Davis. Recent work appears in Best American Experimental Writing 2018, Waxwing, LIT, Colorado Review, AGNI, Black Warrior Review, Washington Square Review, and elsewhere. A fellowship recipient from the Starworks Foundation, the Port Townsend Writers Conference, and InPrint Houston, and winner of the Donald Barthelme prize in poetry, Martin holds an MFA from New York University and a PhD from the University of Houston. He is a member of the Poetry Society of America’s Bay Area Advisory Board and serves on the board of the Unsung Masters book series.


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