The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2021

All Issues
JUNE 2021 Issue


Lapse into Recovery

But it’s not as if it should all be black
at least in the heart of the oval mirror

Stern refuge finer than flimsiest dust
in the unlanced somnolence of an airy bubble

How the brow overhangs your eyes as a shading
leaf leaves the tree with no singular claim

A sunkissed souvenir takes on the glow
drenched to accompany thunder

Lightning now cuts loose a shudder
of crushed foil to take away at eye level


In the land of enchantments,
everyone has a story

The arena we live in whispers collide
no dream without exaggeration is rumor-free

In the night it is always night and just because
no uncertified arguments ever set us free

So long as we keep worrying
guidelines we do so love reshaping

Planes have fallen from the sky
and our people were on them

Cars pile up a monument to distraction
to shake free of the least secret claim

Trucking in full regalia one small clean failure
pitching in and missing for a low-slung ozone


No mountain has stood as I have stood
in line for the cashier at the corner market
next to tubs cramped with flowers on ice

While birds are scarce this January
their agility outpacing each shadow
only a jetlagged pair of sparrows
keeps pondering the pavement

That yesterday maybe cleared a place
for us here though it may have been
before then the days began to lag

Long before a cold truth can assert itself
past the dawn when everything’s woven
into a vaguely significant distance

Small incentive

Abiding Faith, at the Solstice

We don’t need a breeze to tell us
there’s life in the trees

All stand the test of time
alone with their pins or leaves

And need none of the names we give them
to do as they please

Acting like so many children
ignoring our pleas

Should the snows crowd in they’ll still
hold still and
remember not to freeze

And each has a reason to stay wherever
regardless how far from the sun

Given time each one keels over
with a hope the green will return

From the Lithuanian

Standing on top of a stump
I watched for stars

Cold wind kicked the dark
into my eyes

Sending the song of a gloomy pine grove
down to sleeping humankind

Could that be death come down to earth
along with the last gleam of light?

A boy wrote this
because he couldn’t sleep

Alone so lonely
dead to the world before he could dream
any future he’d claim was his

Now I think of him nearing death
so many years since
I wish I could sleep


Vyt Bakaitis

Vyt Bakaitis, with three books of poems published and Refuge & Occasion due soon from Station Hill Press, is now wrapping up The Antigone Play, freely adapted from Sophocles by way of Hölderlin’s renowned German version.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2021

All Issues