Portrait of Jan Peart

Cutter Streeby

and if : at the foundation of all there lay only a

wildly seething power which writhing produced

everything that is great : if a bottomless void : never

satiated : lay hidden beneath all : what then would

life be : like Feynman said : nature uses only the

longest threads : : and your passion in this image

tells me take Isaac to Moriah and leave him as a

burnt offering on the mountain : : his body a

question : do all of our dead cease to exist in the

head : in the heart : in the hand of the living : and

the answer the same : unequivocally : no : : a

woman told me once : camino bailando y con tus

palabras : I walk dancing and your words surround

me and turn me and turn me around and around :

vueltas y vueltas y vueltas y cuando paro : and when

I stop : ya no se donde estoy : I can no longer say

where I am : : you told me once : if you’re

passionate burn it : be good at suffering : and after

this flower I can say only one thing : we’re at the

very beginning of the human race : and the sky is

black for a reason

Cutter Streeby's poetry, essays and translations can be gound in The Cincinnati Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, The White Review and many other publications.

Photo by Jan Peart.


  1. I like this, especially the image of a wheeling, spinning woman who comes to a stop to observe ‘if you’re passionate burn it’ The last line is very tight and tight is good. Not sure about the use of colons to separate what might otherwise be lines. I tend to be ‘conservative’ re: prose poem formatting–otherwise why not write a lineated poem,–but that’s just my preference. “What is poetry and if you know what is poetry, what is prose.” Gertrude Stein, Poetry and Grammar

What do you think?