Jeneva Burroughs Stone


—for Jim

Breath, a fabric washed too many times, wears thin. Our knowing diminishes toward the horizon, which, as we eventually understand, can never be broached.

In this photo, see the sky flattened the way of Turner—blue brushwork beneath furling clouds. He’s gone, too. Everything evaporates.

Love lists to the left. Then to the right, always in need of propping up. The horizon seesaws; sea and sky meet so high above the heads of children on the shore. How can they drown in thin air?


His brain a sort of imagistic jazz: cacophony of white and gray juxtapositions. Darkened areas like the bruised dead, but without death’s grip or grin. Cold white crenellations of the cerebrum, apparently set on pause.

My anticipation is itself a form of knowledge.

Viewing the scan-set cut by cut, deeper and deeper into what the neurologist lays claim to as knowledge. First his eyes and nose, the nose a depth charge marking latitude of the primitive hunch of the brain stem. His eyes, perhaps, latitude of thought.

But where thoughts? Where thinking? Each of us watching hunched in the electric buzz and synaptic snap of our own contained skulls.

And his mouth sunk deep on the face, well beneath the brain’s bowl, empty as a drain.

The neurologist points to dark areas, danger zones, and reads him like a book, or like a teacher giving us his take on a poem we feel we already understand.


If there is a god he is digital. A god of necessary and invisible spaces. Of something and nothing: one and zero.

I am not so much as a mote.

Blue swirled the cavern and I turned to you. Along its inner seams crept persons small as mites. The infestation reached its upper limit, its jar mouth, and the swarm lipped the canister spilling its calculus down the sides. Your eyes went dark from an animal sadness that stemmed from disbelief.

That moment when the rocket achieves lift is the point at which I think of you: the same point at which miracles happen. The body of eternity encoded like a closed door. I, too, want to knock and come in.

A god of numeric spaces.

We ate the metal cold then hot re-entry blistered our tongues. The atmosphere pressing like a forced kiss on the hull or a fontanel stretching the world’s perineum. If we are so tender, then what of us survives?

The clean clear talk of mathematics.

It waxed and waned and a supernumerary grew. Super-numinous in all its silken force. Tell me the angle of imprecision. Or the unit of yaw. Consciousness dissipates as outer rings are reached. Plosive semi-arcs of speech burst, bubbling off a planet’s curvature.

Tension between one and nothing makes the world.

Jeneva Stone (she/her) is a poet and essayist. She’s the author of Monster (Phoenicia Publishing, 2016), a hybrid meditation on caregiving, disability & medicine. Her work has appeared in NER, APR, Waxwing, Split This Rock, Scoundrel Time, Pleiades, and others. She is the recipient of fellowships from MacDowell, Millay Arts, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She holds an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.