Two Poems

By Anthony Opal

Outside the Monastery

The body’s syntax
shaking before the cloud
of unknowing
is completely normal
the monk says
to the novice, out below
the lemon trees,
as the other monks
harvest potatoes.
Can you smell the smell
that the breeze is bringing
from the brewery?
It smells good. These lemons
smell good. Find peace
in this reality,
and knowing will proceed
to be less of a concern.


The Mummies

I saw two mummified
birds in a shoebox
coffin at the Field
Museum last night;
some pottery
with my wife, a mother
and her newborn
child entombed
in palm leaves; CT’s
of sarcophagi
projected on flat screens.
I’m enamored
by conservation,
less so by heaven.
Perhaps the body is all
there is.

Anthony Opal is the author of ACTION (Punctum/Peanut Books, 2014). His poems have recently appeared in Poetry, Sixth Finch, Notre Dame Review, and elsewhere. He lives near Chicago with his wife and daughter.

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