“My Atmosphere,” a Poem by Alan Felsenthal

From the Collection "Hereafter"

June 20, 2024  By Alan Felsenthal

From the green axil of the velvetleaf

angled to the sun and its splintered light

a yellow flower that dulls the green

with its stigma centered in a pistil

opens to acknowledge a social bee.

The cosmopolitan beetle below

senses leaf-mining flies inside the stem.

Born into disturbed soil, this tall weed breathes

by heart-shaped leaves, a stout stalk of soft hairs,

its five petals that converge each summer.

Clouds rend the air, beams extend the sky’s dome

and converge in a far vanishing point,

bluish shafts telling us it is twilight,

our gloom. I’d show my son if I had one.


Excerpted from Hereafter by Alan Felsenthal. Copyright © 2024. Available from The Song Cave.

Alan Felsenthal
Alan Felsenthal
Alan Felsenthal is the author of Lowly (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017). His writing has appeared in BOMB, The Brooklyn Rail, Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, and The New York Times Magazine. He is the co-editor of A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind: The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton (The Song Cave, 2013) and the editor of Bookworm: Conversations with Michael Silverblatt (The Song Cave, 2023). He teaches poetry at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

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