In the latest issue:

Robespierre’s Chamber Pot

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Fifteen days from now

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The Yorkists

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Whitehall Spookery

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Gordon v. O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

I’m Reading Your MindJorie Graham
Close
Close
Vol. 39 No. 14 · 13 July 2017
Poem

I’m Reading Your Mind

Jorie Graham

567 words

here. Have been for centuries. No, longer. Everything already has
been. It’s not a reasonable place, this continuum between us, and yet
here again I put the olive trees in, turn the whole hill-sweeping grove down, its
mile-long headfuls of leaves upswept so the whole valley shivers its windy silvers,

watery … A strange heat is upon us. Again. That was you thinking that. I suggested it.
Maybe the wind did. We both put in the horizon line now, the great loneliness, its
grip, chaos recessed but still there. After finitude you shall keep coming towards me
it whines, whitish with non-disappearance. We feel the same about this. The same

what? We feel is there more. That’s the default. We want to live with the unknown in
front of us. Receding, always receding. A vanishing moving over it all. A sleepy
vacancy. It’s the sky, yes, but also this thinking. As from the start, again, here I am,
a mind alone in the fields. The sheep riding and falling the slants of earth. The

sleepiness a no-good god come to assume we are halfwits, tending, sleepy, the
animals gurgling and trampling, thistle-choked, stinging. A dove on a stone. No sky
to speak of, the god lingers, it wants to retire, it thinks this is endgame, what
could we be – mist about to dry off, light about to wipe a wall for no reason, that

random. This must have been way BC. Or is it 1944. Surely in 2044 we shall be
standing in the field again, tending, waiting to surprise the god who thinks he knows
what he’s made. Well no. He does not know. We might be a small cavity but it
guards a vast hungry – how bad does that hurt you, fancy maker – you have no idea

what we turned our back on to come be in this field of earth and tend – yes tend –
these flocks of minutes, whispering till the timelessness in us is wrung dry and we
are heavied with endgame. Have I mentioned the soul. How we know you hustled
that in, staining all this flesh with it, rubbing and swirling it all over inside with

your god-cloth. Rinse. Repeat. Get this – here with this staff which soon I shall turn
into a pen again – brilliantly negligent, diligent, inside all this self truly formless – I
hear the laughter of the irrigation ditch I’ve made, I see the dry field blonde-up and
green, day smacks its lips, they are back, the inventors, they are going to do it

again, sprinkle-seed, joker rain coming to loosen it all. How many lives will we be
given, how many will we trade in for this – it comes in bushels, grams, inches, notes,
crows watch over it all as they always have, come back from the end of time to caw
it into its redo again. Cherish us. Will not stop. Nothing to show for it but doing. The

flock runs across as the dog chases and I walk slowly. I admire what I own what I am
and I think the night is nothing, the stars click their ascent, I feel it rise in me, the
word, I feel the skull beneath this skin, I feel the skin slick and shine and hide the
skull and it is from there that it rises now, I taste it before I say it, this song.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences