PEACOCK ISLAND by Jennifer Kronovet

Poetry | Issue 22: Archaeology


It’s possible to lose an island.

Peacock Island went missing

for a century that often goes missing:


the seventeenth. I too have that power—

I disappear by letting the gaze

of a man skitter past me


as I focus entirely on myself.

In a bar. On the Bahn. In the breast

it’s arousal’s nemesis.


When you remember an island

it comes back as blank slate. Boom:

A mistress. A circus. A fancy


garden. I’m no fancy garden,

but when I remember my fleshy flesh

and someone’s gaze confirms it Boom


in the blood—a squelch of interruption.

Anger-cousin. The clock. The boobs.

I’ve been to Breast Island, Blood


Island, Blah Island, and I’ve slurped my anger

on each: I must have one body while islands

have so many. Forget this body,


I say stepping onto the boat that cuts

the river. But ten seconds later

I dock on Peacock Island still skin


swathed, still missing myself as a century

of abandoned land until the peacocks

lurch from me in fear. Boom: They should.



An island is a dark glass.

An island is a dark glass.


A title is circle.

A peacock bisects it.


A peacock is a man.

An island becomes him.


A language is weather.

A language is weather.


A river is history.

A bomb sinks into it.

Jennifer Kronovet is the author of two books of poetry, most recently The Wug Test (Ecco, 2016). She is also the co-translator of
two books, including Empty Chairs (Graywolf Press, 2015), the selected poems of Chinese artist Liu Xia. She edits Circumference Books,
a new press for poetry in translation.