Dania Rajendra 

The guys in
Hard hats
Heading into
Mike's look
A little like
The peaks of
Plowed snow
Marching along
Brooklyn curbs.
I walk by both
The peaks
And the men
To the faux-French
Place. Chuck
Berry plays. The dude
Making coffee looks
Out the Window,
Says, I've never
Driven in
The snow. His boss:
Don't start

Dania Rajendra lives in Brooklyn, where she labors over layer cakes and literary offerings in the eight hours for what we will. Her work has appeared in Alimentum, the Brooklyn Rail, and Killing the Buddha, and a couple of anthologies. 

Of this poem, Randall Mann writes: “There are so many things to admire in this rich, compact poem:  the enjambment in, say, the first stanza, which fragments the scene of men and snow and expertly makes space for progression, each clipped line one of balance and integrity; the alliteration, ‘Hard hats / Heading,’ and ‘look / A little like;’ the internal rhymes (snow, faux, window, now) that allow, in the poem’s march forth, a simultaneous turning back.  

This is a tonally complex piece: it employs the pleasantly old-fashioned convention of capital letters at the beginnings of lines—providing each with a sturdiness, and sense of order—yet effortlessly falls into the demotic with the word ‘dude,’ diction that deepens the ‘Faux-French’ pose of the café in the third stanza.  I like the intricacy of the last two lines of the poem, ‘Don’t start / Now,’ which I read as both a caution against driving and an admonishment against complaint, that final now a bracing immediacy, a word that itself is a part of the governing image of the poem, snow.  And like the poems of Rachel Wetzsteon, ‘BK, AM’ has an unassuming grace; a keen attention to formal possibilities; and—now I’m thinking of a favorite poem by Rachel, ‘Paradigm Shift,’ which ends ‘if only everyone could be / so happy’—a delicacy; a charity of things left appropriately unsaid; an ease that looks easy, but isn’t.”


Issue 13

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