Poetry: Noumenon by Cindy King

A poem foregrounding the distance between our ability to describe and a thing in itself, Cindy King’s “Noumenon” is a whirling syntactical search. Absence, which emerges in the final lines, becomes the catalyst for the question of what was it like, and how close can we get?


The bed was thus, the curtains were therefore.
The moon floated past the window frame
and appeared to be. Fans roared as softly as.
A blue light becoming, or a wind
unlike anything outside.
Or a memory of, but less than.
In other words, a fine dust settling on the dust ruffle.
Released from memory. Released into remembering.
Motor coach and reservoir, children and fools.
The pasture being itself, in other words, midnight, perfume.
Schopenhauer breathing into a paper bag.
Sequins, rutabaga, emerald hills.
Burj Khalifa and a feeling
that in a moment anything could.
That the clouds might.
4:00 p.m. Al Ain: what to say?
Or your voice, the risk of. And rebar.
Then traffic, rushing as if it could stop.
Sure it could.
The noise, the ticking. Noise,
noise, boom. You letting go
was unlike. You leaving
was nearly like.


Cindy King

Cindy King is the author of a full-length poetry collection, Zoonotic (2022), and two poetry chapbooks, Lesser Birds of Paradise (2022) and Easy Street (2021). Her work appears in The Threepenny Review, The Sun, Cincinnati Review, Gettysburg Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Her poetry has also been featured on NPR's The Slowdown. She has recently served as a Festival Poet at the Dodge Poetry Festival and has received scholarships to attend the Sewanee Writers' Conference and the Tin House Summer Workshop. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she currently lives in Utah, where she is an associate professor of creative writing at Utah Tech University and editor of The Southern Quill and Route 7 Review. She is an editorial associate at Seneca Review and enjoys serving on the artistic board for the Blank Theatre in Hollywood, California, where she screens scripts for their Living Room Series.

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