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Symposium in the Trees

By Jed Munson

The caveat is essential: the delusion is sincere.

I’m entitled to my obscurity

and this megaphone as an American:

What’s a breath

mint to a lung

growth we’re waiting on

the nature of ?

What’s with the sudden plume

of grief of tiny morsels, my original

habitat spayed with Kyobo


Certain locals feed the cats

while others reprimand them,

I remain neutral,

petting everyone’s faces, feigning fuller

foreignness, the fullest, like I don’t know this kind of asphalt

with my genX knees

out of the picture we can focus

on our symptoms subsiding

with the weather, the domes

of afterthought breaching

new zones

usually above the common attention.

Some vitamin capsule.

discarded amidst low-pruned pines

and public spigots somehow working

and approachable.

I haven’t heard a gust like that

since my last dedication

to poverty. There hasn’t been a leaf

to choose me since 1984, tears

since the fake ones

four hours ago


A cat since the cat

cooling its belly against marble.

I wait for winter on these steps,

by these principles: cash

is better like nude sleeping by a window

than the erratic tics of spring

symbolisms making last stands

across the courtyard,

bending everything into brink.

You can just picture

the rhino’s unboxing

over there, probably, one man

after another

standing aside with the coil

in a cradle. There’s every kind of Korean,

I remember, when I trip through

my family.

The tools per capita where we come from


everything remodeled and whimpering

inside like it knows how much time

we don’t

Like the lion’s blue eyes

weren’t mythic

still I move laterally along the wall

and pick up advice from dips in the puddy

I remember thinking as it dried wouldn’t

conform to its environment.

still I trace logics of the old debates

like predestination

just to sit under the lamplight

at the end, death

the way others re-watch


I remember feeling math working its way

out of my grasp

into the instrument.

The city, when I woke,

was underwater and I’d only just been born.

JED MUNSON is a writer and editor from Wisconsin. He is a fellow at the Library of America and a student at Brooklyn College, where he helps with The Brooklyn Review. He has published two chapbooks: Newsflash Under Fire, Over the Shoulder (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2021) and Silts (above/ground press, forthcoming).

Art by Alice Penrose


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