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Danniel Schoonebeek


Then father sent for me when the sky above his america was failing to thunder.

Unbroken thing he said looking up you’re the color of everything exploded at once.

Unbroken thing I drink your moonshine I wake at daybreak when you catch fire.

And mother she watched too like she was watching a skin heal across her soup.

Start your machine she told father else I’ll leave you how a verdict leaves a plea.

Unbroken thing he said I will show you the face you show those who worship you.

Unbroken thing I will dig you a hole I will fill it with water I will give you a vanity.

Then mother left it was summer she gathered her miniatures and made for the border.

The field was like static the mosquitoes everywhere in love or at war with each other.

And father for fifteen years with his machine he dug his hole and he filled it with water.

Unbroken thing he said the sky I’ve built does a better impression of you than you.

Unbroken thing and my wife and my thunder and where have you placed my america.

I will send for my child he will sing me a torch song I will send for his hollow-body.

Instrument his father in his fifteen years as a failed revolutionary did not touch.

Did not string did not tune nor clean the body did not carry upon his shoulders stop.

Now father sends for me when the sky above my america declares bankruptcy.

Unbroken thing he says child you’ll walk to the hole I dug with my machine.

Unbroken thing you bring a foxglove and place it where it breaks the water’s skin.

Child kneel down to your face where it ripples and whisper in thunders ends the voice.

This machine I brought you here to build will destroy me because it isn’t a machine.

And the voice with which you break the skin the sky above your america can’t stop.


Danniel Schoonebeek was born in the Catskills. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Kenyon Review, Drunken Boat, Publishers Weekly, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. With poet Allyson Paty, he is the author of Torch Songs, a series of collaborative poems. He hosts the Hatchet Job reading series in Brooklyn and works as associate editor at PEN American.


See the full list of 2012 Emerging Poets Fellows