top of page

Cassandra Jordan


Night has come.

The evening’s ripples smooth themselves into a dark glass.

I sit here at my desk,

my grief cradled in my hands like a nestling

found abandoned in the thickets.


In the apartment across from mine, your lamp flickers.

I can make out your face, undulating in the shadows

your profile a pale, waning crescent.

You are hunched at your desk, shoulders tense,

your hands ash-like as swallowtail wing,

a half-moon of ink under one fingernail

(so close I could almost reach out and touch you).


Though we are strangers, we met once,

long ago, on the lonesome shores of that other hemisphere,

You lying beside me among the rushes, your tear-stained face streaked with

        the dust of Malebolge,

The memory so faint now it sits with the Pleiades’ dimmest stars.


Your pen whispers, that quiet staccato that is yours alone,

your breath carving each vowel, the words rising and falling.


Through the beveled glass, our eyes

meet for a brief moment, the length of a heartbeat.

we look away, embarrassed, conscious suddenly of being strangers

gazing into lives that are not our own.


You return to your writing,

I to my books.

Between us, the night swells.


A shadow, you roam the weeping crags,

your grief wrapped tight around you.

The withered branches of your face,

the twisting bark of your skin, have known

the touch of violence:

How it hardens, how it mangles.

Among the rows of missing bodies and

makeshift tombs, the spring dawn

yawns itself awake, unfurling its

tendrils unabashed, daffodils

quivering wet and raw in the flush whisper

of morning, early lilacs dawdling down

tangling paths, skirts seeping plum, peach, apricot.

You stand, uncomprehending, as the gardener

shouts your name, his face like the gathering of dawn

over Yamtha d’Genesar, the far-off shores of youth lapping

at the threshold of your memory, the dirt of his fingers

whispering a mother tongue you can’t recall.

Noli me tangere, the new leaves hush,

and you withdraw a trembling hand.

Alone you drift over mountain and desert,

barefoot you wander the rocks of Ḥaqel d’Ma,

scattering with the snows of Ture-Kardu,

and onwards into the sands of Yeshimon you fade,

as the ripening spring

reaches out its fingers to you, its young buds

rooted in such a fragile and unlikely premise:

that the dead return.

The Grove

Let the dead

rest, you say, let them be,

those who whisper

so softly

among the unquiet phantoms

of linden and poplar.


In that unbridgeable garden

between marble

and skin,

a place so patient, as if

in this quietude

all memory

stood still,

you will find, perhaps,

a small pocketbook, a gold ring

with your mother’s face.


Look, do you see?

Two girls run across Pont Neuf,

faces flushed, skirts in hand.


Will you not

glance their way,

those laughing ones with waxen

eyes and wrists

of asphodel?


Her death,

all critics agreed,

was immaculate.

Cassandra Jordan is a writer living in New York City. She is interested in the histories beneath history and the stories within stories.

bottom of page