Here is a world for you; 死的 / Dead; & 不灰 / Not Ash


死的 / Dead


is what they call  

a torn-up track  

whose living rails I jump  

to bed down in the wells 

and feel the thud  

hit every trestle 

steam at dawn 

like horses at  

the track I trained 

before the fillies 

foundered sick they fired 

the agents vets they fired 

the riders me I love  

how in a well you thrum 

with sound until your bare  

lips start to bleed like can 

isters of oil I stole inside 

the train you’ll find a nation  

what it wants to eat  

and wear and what 

it likes to buy a ring  

a phone some jeans a porsche  

there is no reason why  

to jump a train except to lose  

the edges of your self  

the time like pacing 

Moxie at the track that speed  

that almost tears 

your hands off at  

the wrist she was  

the last to go her tendon 

bowed and worth less  

than insurance no one  

rides a racehorse just 

for pleasure no one  

hops a train if they can take 

a plane a car whose engine  

speed is gauged by horses kept 

alive in memory  

for sentiment I guess  

there’s ghosts  

of what we were and are 

we cannot bear to leave 

out in the desert where 

I’m going home just not  

right now I said of Moxie  

not right now before 

the race she hasn’t many  

left in her you know  

she trusts you right 

the owner said  

then slipped me  

2 grand and the shots





Paisley Rekdal is the author of four books of nonfiction, and seven books of poetry, including Nightingale (Copper Canyon, 2019), Appropriate: A Provocation (Norton, 2021), and the forthcoming West: A Translation. Her work has received the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship, and various state arts council awards. The former Utah poet laureate, she teaches at the University of Utah, where she is a distinguished professor.