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Notes Towards Nine Pietas

Two large, smooth, featureless mounds of marble. Graceful and
abstracted shapes. Ideal, cool, conveying intensity, proximity despite
their gap, immutability and a transcendent serenity.

Two standard fluorescent tube lights. Christ is pink. Mary is an
unreal blue.

Sheet metal in a an enclosed space that is smooth and shining and
spotlit with so much wattage that looking at is unbearable and you
have to squint and turn away.

Flaking coal or shale.

The biggest living fruit tree available. Spread across the arms of the
lowest branches, a disconsolate and somewhat deflated rubber fish.

Planks of wood balanced precariously together without any nails.
The stigmata are holes. It can collapse once a day—clattering over
the floor—and is rebuilt each morning.

A fountain. Mary is a wide curl of wave. Christ is a jet of corroborating water.

Two empty and intersecting clues on a huge crossword. Black and white.
Numbers in the corners.

A huge pool with an anguished diving board. Many fish inside the pool.
So many lights and shards of glass on the pool floor and suspended in
the water that the fish swim in torment, danger and ecstasy.

Moez Surani’s poetry has been published internationally, including in Harper’s Magazine, The Awl, The Walrus, Best Canadian Poetry 2013 and Best Canadian Poetry 2014. He is the author of two poetry collections: Reticent Bodies and Floating Life. His third poetry book, عملية Operación Opération Operation 动 Oперация, will be published in fall, 2016.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.