Weekly Feature: Poetry at The Arts Fuse

Welcome to “Poetry at The Arts Fuse.” A new poem every Thursday.




They called it the Great Deep,

              the depths, the water-filled dark—


a layer undergirding the earth

               in the Babylonian scheme of things


and the verse in Genesis about

              subterranean gates holding back


flood waters, the fathomless place

              daylight refuses to enter. There


no summer opens the mouths

              of roses and morning glories, no fall


ripens the apples on the trees:

               nothing tells what month it is.


But we have seasons and fields.

              Spring rises from a muddy sleep.


A seed splits, baring a green blade.

              Bees from a hive in a hollow tree


fly out past a stream, stopping to probe

             clover blossoms before flying home.


I don’t believe in an afterlife

               though I need the ancient accounts,


the grayness of the atmosphere,

              who has been grieving, how long.


Walking across a wet meadow

               weighted with yesterday’s rain,


I feel the give of the ground

              as if I might sink through.


Jennifer Barber’s most recent collection of poems is The Sliding Boat Our Bodies Made (Word Works, 2022). She co-edited the anthology Tree Lines: 21st Century American Poems (Grayson Books, 2022) with Jessica Greenbaum and Fred Marchant. Barber serves as the current series editor of the Tenth Gate Prize offered by the Word Works and is in her third year as poet laureate of Brookline, Massachusetts.

Note: Hey poets! We seek submissions of excellent poetry from across the length and breadth of contemporary poetics. See submission guidelines here. The arbiter of the feature is the magazine’s poetry editor, John Mulrooney.

Arts Fuse editor Bill Marx


  1. Nancy Kassell on April 21, 2024 at 4:40 pm

    Lovely. Thank you.

  2. Ellen Raquel LeBow on April 23, 2024 at 2:02 pm

    What a profound understanding of each chosen word she has

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