You Have Stolen My Ocean of Minutiae; Ephemera

Jon Hoel

You Have Stolen My Ocean of Minutiae

after Osip Mandelstam


Buckled kneed, down in the silt and loam
I lionlimb the pips of my mind into shallow
tombs, pour them in as streaks of dust.
The cenotaph which stands where once, we gazed
down the feral linens and laid together there.
Oh, I do not sustain the times here, times
that I am not quite keeping footed in, sordid fences.
Anna, you have stolen my ocean, swiftly—
stolen my soaring. Delivered in a cacophony
of unruptured earth. And for what??
A moth
that still moves, still mouths though I cannot.
I cannot keep pace, the speed of life is too severe.
Flailed in the descriptions of a language I don’t speak,
in the dregs of once-sailed waters, there. You are no one.





Either in a city or seaside, I will be aging

under these stressful weights, be straining.

Try to keep things liquid, being nomadic;

a rootless millennium, inwardly homesick.

January: mothering myself, I’ll be lambing

and needling a blister, inundated, spaced-out.

Smudging the gypsum board with my feet

I tried to bum a cigarette from a faith healer.

Weightless, navigating a house in the dark

pacing sweaty, don’t want to die lingering.

With the wind’s might, I’ll be aerodynamic

effortlessly maneuvered and singing Onward.

Through the trees, bowered out into a grotto

in the nights of my life, I am aptly maudlin.




Jon Hoel is a New England poet. He has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and has published poems and essays with Black Lawrence Press, fisheatsharks, Spires, love & squalor, and Thesis XII. His collection of essays on the poetic cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky will be released via Columbia University Press' imprint Auteur in 2019. He lives in New York City.