If now you cannot hear me it is because we are breaking up because
our borders are not secure because the iPod interferes with your pace

maker because there is no reason to worry about the past when the past
may never come because no one else will remember how damp

the page smells after the network goes offline. One day you will forget
the law of flood, you will take it back while the speaker behind the mirror

leads you further away from lines that began with first person address:
“let the forgetting begin.” If now you cannot read him it is because distance

is what you lost once and now must drink. It is almost dark and the wind
off the river proves a field for knots of clumsy and impenetrable English

confronting the translator of Persian lyric poetry their stanzas having
become an abandoned house awaiting foreclosure as evidence

of the decade’s debacle surfaces and if now you cannot hear me
it is because the sound of this night no one will remember no one else


BARBARA CLAIRE FREEMAN is a literary critic and professor of literature who has recently turned her full attention to poetry. She is the author of The Feminine Sublime (University of California Press, 1998, pbk, 2000), among other works of criticism. Formerly an Associate Professor of English at Harvard, she currently teaches creative writing in the Rhetoric Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in A Public Space, The Beliot Poetry Journal, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Harvard Review, Iowa Review, Laurel Review, Modern Review, New American Writing, and Parthenon West. She is a recipient of theDiscovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize, (2008); the Language Exchange Poetry Award (Sarah Lawrence College, 2007); and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Incivilities, her first book of poems, is forthcoming from Counterpath Press in the Fall of 2009.

In the Garden of Migrating Ghosts” appeared in Issue 21.2 – Summer/Fall 2009.