Seth Jani, Winter 2017

 Missing Persons

One night in Seattle
My phone went out
Walking back from a stranger’s
To my apartment,
A dollar in my pocket
And a pink, expired transfer.

There was not a single person
To know the contours of my wandering.

It’s hard to be so suddenly disconnected,
Alive with the rush of traffic
And the mulberries under rain.

It’s hard to know the pavement
While the night birds spin their
Final music.

I could fade into my own open sadness,
Walk these meadows without a name,
Vanish past the streetlamps and be forgot.

I could cross a drifting homicide
And willingly drink of disappearance.

I could become a missing person.

I think I belong among the desert biplanes,
Ships in their dissolving dance
Beneath the sea.

I think my share of life
Has an equal stake
In the arms of ruin.

What I know of the fall
Of empires is a hard
And private thing.

A matter both of history
And the heart.

Smoke Signals

The directness of you disappearing
Forthwith into the auspices of rain
Is a kind of sacrament,
A spell and undoing,
A tacit movement
From one bare state to another.
Like some magician going up
In smoke,
Or the old horizon of the city
Suddenly lost in a weather system’s
Passing haze
You’re gone with all your charms
And troubles,
Vanished into the summer
Like one more habitual hour
Unhinged from memory
Into the cold and passing light


These days when the grackle
Moves her cold music
In the trees
The voice of water stirs
In the brain like feedback
From another world.
I don’t believe in the limits
Of biology,
The blood is universal,
From the deserts of Titan
To unknown palaces,
To shade-ridden people
On distant seas, it sings
And sloshes in violent harmony.
And today, with its meridian
Of wind and discontent
Chanting around the hours
I partake of the puzzle
In my veins, that codex
Inscribed inside our bodies
Star-forged and full of light.
But also, touched by dark migrant pulses,
Those distant tribal dreams

Seth Jani currently resides in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven Circle Press ( His own work has been published widely in such places as
The Coe Review, The Hamilton Stone Review, Hawai`i Pacific Review, Gingerbread House and Gravel. More about him and his work can be found at

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