Seth Jani [poetry]


Say that grief is not a fire-edged fang
But only a leaf in cool weather,
That love is the light of diamonds
Reflected in the water, and that
The heart is an emerald you found
one night
Shining like a bone.
Say we are emptiness itself,
A network through which the wind
Or a shadow spirals.
That beneath our names, there is only
A spectral universe
Thinking and dreaming.
Say that the relative loss
In a hospital bed
Is separated only by perception
From the great cosmic gift
Of being no one at all.

Regeneration Cycle

I found a fire, somewhere,
In the bottom of a well.
The water coursed around it
But it was untouched,
A green fable.
I lifted it in a bucket,
And showed it to the sun.
I held it behind glass
In my father’s house.
Eventually it will become a seed
And conflagration.
The house will be razed,
A forest born.
Someone will look for it
Like innuendo in plain speech,
Like disbelief in the palace of thought.


The idea of the moon
Germinates all night
In the dreamer’s head.
The trees too, silver-tipped,
And full of birds.
The force behind them
Is wholly self-sufficient,
Almost as if there is a light
Burning in sleep,
A low, blue flame.
Maybe there is.
And maybe it’s the same light
Illuminating the big edge of death.
After all, isn’t identity
Just a waterfall cascading
Into nothing?
And if anything survives
Would it not be the backlit hum,
The expanse in which all these
Form and disassemble?
The idea of the moon
Is as bright as the moon itself,
But what casts that borrowed radiance
When our eyes are closed?

Some Thoughts at 2 AM

The papery light of an almost certain
Peaking through the window.
And you, questioning all night
Whether you are a body breathing
Or only a pause in the wind’s music.

We learn who we most truly are
When the least recognizable face
Happens in the mirror.

The world exists to daylight ghosts,
To drag the broken, unborn fish
Up from the dark
And find the carnival of faces
With their endless postures.

When the secret’s out we will
Pure as smoke, into the eerie margins
Of the rain.
When we disappear, the secret will be
In the reliable silence of all things.

Seth Jani lives in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress ( Their work has appeared in The American Poetry Journal, Chiron Review, Ghost City Review, Rust+Moth and Pretty Owl Poetry, among others. Their full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. More about them and their work can be found at

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