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The Garden


by Jeremy Schmidt

So far as a sofa is soft

skin no matter how distant


is sway. So long as near-silk and


reduction run over it, neck-

baking nights are clear sky.


So near yet so sharp sits that


unblue despite all sifted

assurances. So if the simplest

In the summer of 2018, Jeremy was reading stuff full of phrases that sound pretty dated or formal today. Words like “nape” and “leafy glade” caught his eye. 

situation is this where everything is


spilling over in every direction

look to the violet bedding


down at our feet. That unnameable tree.


So there, the bark torn away

from anything less than an anthem


to rope in these spaces, the want


of unsayings when you sense so to

speak that summer’s most coveted

That formality started seeping into Jeremy’s own sentences. In mostly unconvincing but occasionally pretty ways. He responded by searching for something to balance it out.

color is me. So help us to gather


each leafy instant while letting

some fair number fall as so


much of such holding pales


to acceptance which you can’t

just let happen. So be it.

The casualness of “so” (“so what,” “so then,” etc.) seemed to do the trick, and the rhythms here emerged from the resulting interplay.

Jeremy Schmidt is a teacher and scholarship counselor at UCLA. His writing has appeared in The Believer, Boston Review, LA Review of Books, and Lana Turner, and a few of his poems were selected by John Ashbery for the Discovery Poetry Prize.

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