Eric E. Hyett lives in Medford, MA, and works as a poet and translator. His co-
translation of "Sonic Peace," the award winning first book by contemporary
Japanese female poet Kiriu Minashita, will be published in 2017 by Phoneme Media.
Eric studied linguistics at Harvard College and the History and Social Study of Science
and Technology at MIT. He is circulating two poetry collections, "Flight Risk" and
"Threnody for Emily Dickinson," as well as a memoir, "Below Ground Zero" about his
experiences as a 9/11 survivor, gay marriage poster boy, and prisoner at Rikers
Island. Eric is a member of PoemWorks, the Workshop for Publishing Poets in Boston.

Grass In The Prison Yard

May or may not grow, depending entirely
on wind. The Heat Index measures
such conditions. Danger. Extreme Danger.
Or fear. Or possibly flamingoes:

their implausible grace; or a rainbow,
however it might appear. Shall I tell you
about the rain then? The kind of rain
that makes a family family. Which is

entirely different from an argument
or a flood. People always feel the need
to deadhead things, especially roses.
The four of us, when we were still

the four of us, napping on the grass
of St. James Park beside the pond's
not-quite-silver bowl. Like shillings:
newly minted & still worth something.


is the world of
numbers, binary zeroes
& ones, atoms spinning

on their axes this
way, that way
or the other, strange

& charmed, up,
down or is it
beauty keeps their

spin, & what
spins one way spins
another, not arbitrary,

not arbitrary at
all but with cold
purpose & still

room between those
quarks, an infant world
but still, &

when with tiny
scissors I rend them
jagged they can't

help but recombine
into something indelible &
layered & void

& there is
silence there is attraction,
how people feel

compelled to wish
me luck these days
as if I

were a steamship,
or the lottery, a
scratch-off ticket,

the sum &
product, the one in
a billion chance.

The High Road

He was angry that morning, my brother: the one time
it actually was my fault we were late; we jumped

the already-moving train bound for Berlin
but I'm the one who knew blame was as useless

as Deutschmarks; knew how to pack and unpack
my anger; roll it up if necessary, like when he ditched

me in Geneva so he could journey 900 miles
for a girl he'd lost. Switzerland was not the same

without him. I tried Ecstasy; slept it off
in an apartment full of Romanians and one frail stick

of a Czech girl. Somehow he just found me again in the Alps:
you should have seen my face when he knocked on that châlet

door—my kid brother, rainclouds climbing
the impossible valley like a cog railway and his eyes

blue as if nothing at all. And weren't we there
together in Venice, just the two of us listening

to the canals, joined like all those old-world stations—
Dresden, Leipzig, Budapest, Prague—the snow-covered

high road of the Alps from Chamonix
to Zermatt and will we or will we not survive this new

Cold War of ours? My brother and I. The tight
connection. The already-moving train.

MacMillan Wharf, Provincetown

She was carrying something
enormous in a plastic
bag and she dropped it and glass

was everywhere and the guy
at the parking just handled
it. With a broom. Two minutes

and it was over: she was
gone; the unwieldy treasure
she'd been clutching in her arms

all afternoon was gone. It
was maybe three o'clock and
pretty soon I'd be gone too.

It's appalling, the symptoms
of shattering. Appalling:
the red shack; the usual pier;

her face sunwrecked with grief as
she hurried on—contagious,
unstoppable. And I don't

know anymore if I want
to find him, or not find him—
my son. How what happened

sometimes seems like it never
happened. How we can let go
of anything; walk away.

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