Crow Cento, Time Cento

By Jessica Goodfellow

Crow Cento

There was a broken jaw of light at dusk where the crows
pinned to each tree
the hammer’s shadow in the shadow of a hand.
Sound of a crow, pulling the one nail from its voice,
claim the far away in me—
a never air, the lens for being.
Every microcosm needs its crow,
and the crows are up to no good:
They invented the earth for people,
inventing pizzicato as they fled the horizon.

Sources (by line): 

  1. Doug Ramspeck, “Of Crows We Dream”
  2. Melissa Stein, “Ring”
  3. Franz Wright, “After”
  4. Bob Hicok, “Empty Similes”
  5. Elizabeth Onusko, “The Point at Which the Laws of Physics Break Down” 
  6. Dabney Stuart, “Traveling Light”
  7. David Young, “Walking Home on an Early Spring Evening”    
  8. Ali Liebegott, “Hope”
  9. John Estes, “I Foresee the Breaking of All That Is Breakable”
  10. Herman de Coninck (trans. By Laure-Anne Bosselaar and Kurt Brown), “Genesis”

Time Cento

Split seconds tormented them like the strange bluebottle flies.
Centuries and days are made of the same fiber,
joints dovetailed on their own weight,
painted, flying in opposite directions. Silence
polishes itself inside its temple. Ask me to repent
where it won’t jam machinery.

Sources (by line): 

  1. D. Nurske, “The Next Apartment”
  2. Sally Fisher, “Valse Ghazal”
  3. Jane Hirshfield, “For What Binds Us”
  4. Lightsey Darst, “=”
  5. C. McAllister Williams, “Flesh”
  6. Hayden Saunier, “Last Will”


Jessica Goodfellow’s books are Whiteout (University of Alaska Press, 2017), Mendeleev’s Mandala (2015), and The Insomniac’s Weather Report (2014). Her work has been included in Best New PoetsVerse DailyThe Writer’s Almanac, and was made into a short film by Motionpoems. She was awarded the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize from the Beloit Poetry Journal, and has been a writer-in-residence at Denali National Park and Preserve. Recently, her work has appeared in The Threepenny ReviewThe AwlThe Southern Review, and Best American Poetry 2018. Jessica lives with her family in Japan.