In Barren Shallows Where Ice Crystals Form

by Alex Cigale

In barren shallows where ice crystals form
on anything that does not move, the seals
maintain a system of holes, a highway
underwater. Stars feed on their debris.

In the muddy Amazon they have found
electric fish that subsist solely on
nibbling the tails of other electric
fish. Also, a previously unknown

species of miniature, blind catfish
that lacks pigment, has taste buds all over
its entire body and generates an
electric field to navigate, visionless.

Are you not even a bit envious?
We all want to feel, we want to be filled.

Alex Cigale‘s poems have recently appeared in The Cafe Review, Colorado Review, Green Mountain Review, Hanging Loose, and McSweeney’s, and are forthcoming in Gargoyle, Global City Review, Many Mountains Moving, North American Review, and Zoland Poetry. Stranger at Home: American Poetry With an Accent is just out with four of his poems, as is the chapbook Chronicle of Calamities. Alex was born in Chernovtsy, Ukraine and has lived in New York City since 1975, excluding the six years spent at the University of Michigan, where he won a Hopwood Award. Alex’s translations of contemporary Russian poetry can be found in Crossing Centuries: The New Generation in Russian Poetry, Modern Poetry in Translation, Poetry New York, and The Manhattan Review.

Back to Issue One: Fall 2008