Jessica Goodfellow: "The Relief Map Fails To Relieve"




All maps view their subjects from above,

while a glacier glissandoes always downward—

gouging as it goes, unzipping the underworld.


The void’s already hoisted its No Vacancy sign.

All those still corseted by torsos cannot cross, 

cannot join the vacated in their icy cradles.


The relief map flattens the landscape on the page,

contour lines erasing one dimension, then

another: time. Each charted mountain peak


radiates a dense concentric whorl. Like a pebble 

dropped into a bottomless lake. Tree rings. 

Fingerprints. What’s left after tree or thief is gone. 


Jessica Goodfellow’s books are Mendeleev’s Mandala (Mayapple Press, 2015), The Insomniac’s Weather Report (Isobar Press, 2014), and the chapbook A Pilgrim’s Guide to Chaos in the Heartland (Concrete Wolf, 2006). Her work has been featured in Best New Poets, Verse Daily, and on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac