Sister Cities

By Geoffrey Nutter

What can I tell you about Sister Cities?

You are not one, but a succession of identities,

like them. Cities, prefectures, counties, brimstone

and potash, their blue fins revolving in the sky—all

might have them, Peruvian or otherwise, simultaneous

though synchronized, like clocks, disconsolate

though keeping time with fierce love, rocketeers.

We must be nieces and nephews, Corinthians

and Philadelphians; the mountains, our fathers;

the mothers something else beyond us

unknown, that can endure so much greater

pain. Yet for all it is a labor of love:

and harvest girls among whom friendship will arise,

with Oscarshamn’s fingerpost signage pointing

the way toward Hibiscus Coast, its twin.

And in September, threshing draws to an end

In ghostly Octagon, Kansas, an only child, while siblings nearby are entirely enveloped in straw. They, and all of us, have magnetic nerves that draw

in feelings, and draw the distant toward us in love,

beyond loss, through sublunary nettles,

plant-men in streams dotted with quarks:

Sister Cities.


GEOFFREY NUTTER lives in New York City. He is the author of Christopher Sunset, The Rose of January, and most recently Giant Moth Perishes (all Wave Books), among other books. He runs the Wallson Glass Poetry Seminars.


Art by Izzy Walter