The Adirondack Review
FALL 2017
Five Poems

night of green       in murmurations.
neon tuning       the sky. dream
of postcard       simultaneity. sight
of lights above       plains of ice.
snow holds       the moon longer.
the driver argues       with the guide
about elves       over the mic.
if you look out       the dream’s
right you’ll sense       the enormous
loss of the island’s       prehistoric
forest. forget the       rock range
ringing in the borders       but not
the sudden drop       in temperature.
in the dream       you never read
or interact       with architecture.
the open atom       wherein you can
hear fishes hum       in the imaginary
distance. several       schools of plural
species. what        they don’t know
won’t hurt       anyone. don’t stare
all at once and       try to portend
the precise hour       of universal heat
death by the height       and weight
of clouds. an        outside guess
at best, and yet       here your mother
sits diagonally       down the aisle
in her dream       seat, smiling
alive, ready       to say when


woke up in oslo / earlier than sunrise / in the morning dark / orion sunk low / on the horizon /
over my left shoulder / a planet flashing / at our hero’s ankles / like shards of glass / kicked off
the stars’ / walking path / on the right the moon / stared into the still face / of a lake / between
twin hillsides / well before the predicted minute / of daylight / the world turned / visible again /
we stopped for gas / and kanelbullar / we couldn’t be bothered / to say their name / in norwegian

/ but all the same / the sky was blue / when we left the station / back en route / reverse a river
current / into the mountains / towns surrounding / slid up the ridge / a graveyard’s / open
ironwork / spotted crosses / between a country church / and its stave sister / raised around nine
hundred years / before a sign declared / the oncoming incline / our rental angled / into a tunnel /
wholly unlit / our headlights led us out / to find our windows / rushed with snow /

sight of a railway village / below a sudden glacier / breaking cover / of elemental cold / over its
massive undeniability / disappearing into a cloud / over the symmetric lines of houses / painted
black and red / roofed with sod / and sometimes the odd tree / growing above icicles / dusted
white again / as the wind worsened / we could only / see inside / the cabin and a few / feet
beyond the glass / counting on sticks / as errant guardrails / to guide us

into blindness / the atmosphere went clear / when we reached / the plateau’s leaden reservoirs /
weather whipped into oceans of storm / we watched the waves form / nervously from the warm
leather interior / of the minivan / the tires were less than / the best for a blizzard / a few times
their grip / faltered on switchback turns / and we slipped / across the icy asphalt haphazardly / we
held our breaths / we were altogether / silent gliding toward the edge

/ we could have tripped / over the low stone / row of the cliffside / we were each conscious / of
our own lives / and each other’s / but the brakes / caught us every time / we did not die / soon we
came to / another pass / cut into the mountain / descending quickly / well-lit and big enough / for
scores of roundabouts / to fit within it / staggering our speed / slowing into circles / inside rock
walls / raw and beveled / like handprints / left on a sculpture /

coming out of the cave / the landscape changed / into a photograph / of yellow afternoon /
skimming the skin / of a fjord / we tilted toward / a bridge spanning / gray across the water / in
full view of falls / spindling with gravity / a quarter mile away / or more the appearance / of birds
mid-air / reminded us / just where we were / by virtue / of their small existence / their colors and
number remained / indeterminate in motion



first view where gods
walked out of sky
their ship of clouds,
dragon-headed, dragging
prehistory by its knot
of generalities — genesis
of the world outside
the world, descended;
the route into a volcano,
heaps of trash and grass,
dirt footpath wends
up the column of ash
rising beneath the sign,
size of the minotaur
or any other monster
more familiar, same
shape as desire, delimiting
light above the gray
fens, over the line
of kings’ graves
sealing myth
into the landscape
the museum of glass
and human sacrifice
by holy method unique
unto bodies. in this model,
rods and cones color
correct and adjust
for distance, which
explains how the sun
holds the horizon
aloft as it palimpsests
into disappearance


morning drags my continent into rites
of fellowship. glossolalia and waffle
cones, an innate wickedness in couplets,
sentiment. and couples. text me next week
when the word for world is forest; reckon
how my father’s gender breaks resplendent
from the cracks in both my brothers’ voices.
pigtail, I'm missing what you call me back
when we use stupid names. the laughing shock
the day you dared yourself shoplift that thrift
store leather collar more for games than full-
fledged fetish, but still blushed then begged
me not to think less of you for it. as if.
of course I love you, christ, so much I never
say it right. whether or not you care now
or ever I'm there with you (sort of) always,
by which I mean I write us in blank verse.
long lines to reach you better than delays
in terse phone conversations where kissy sounds
make valediction cutesy and in french.
in the truck cab on the drive up, I trade
the ache of your handsome face for the noise
of québécois djs. beyond the timber
line the timbre of radio static
reminds me what your voice is not: here, mine,
or heard. to miss you is submission
to what starts unreal and ends convenient.
impossible to stop the minor
tragedy of time zones, partitioning
the planet into equidistance.

DANIEL BARNUM lives in Philadelphia. He is a former fellow at the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, and has served as editorial assistant at West Branch. His work appears most recently in Lime Hawk, Voicemail Poems, Ninth Letter, and The Matador Review. Find him here: