by JJ Penna

Like a sea voyage: Ten sails.  Ten sunsets.  Ten moons.  Ten years
of sea talk, clinging.  Ten seasons of wild bird weather, ten times blue

surfacing.  It is possible to have no fear of drowning.  Night after night
we dropped our faces.  She took off blouse, stockings, skirt, tender garments

to set herself on fire on the masthead.  Flare.  Lodestar.  
To rive means to cleave
.  Even in our most pagan moments I wasn’t touchable enough.

There were lulls.  Doldrums.  Fog.  Some nights a frail craft.
News took its time to reach us.  Salvage no salvage.

After we disappeared everyone had hunches: A ship split at the seams,  
some unusual midnight zone violence.  We were erased from certain travel books.

Friends condemned our recklessness.
In some languages
to fly is the same as to be carried.

Perhaps she mistook the voice of a man for the sound of the sea.
Perhaps she is the sound.


JJ Penna is a musician and writer currently on the faculty of the
Juilliard School in New York City.  He holds an MFA in Poetry
from Warren Wilson College and a DMA from the University of
Michigan.  Penna has held fellowships at The MacDowell Colony,
The Atlantic Center for the Arts, The Virginia Center for the
Creative Arts, and The Ragdale Foundation.  His work has
appeared in
The Florida Review, Nimrod, Brilliant Corners,
Chautauqua Literary Quarterly, and other publications.    

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 11, Number 2
(Fall 2016)

Copyright © 2016
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.