Always in the faintest glow of pleasure, and always
at its whim, you take what you can, and love it.
As does the king. The rest of it bellows, a dark you fear
but can’t take. You’re home, you’ve always been here.
As has the king. You know taking small pleasures
means gazing at greater ones until you think they too
are with you. So gazes the king. In heaven, confronted
by all pleasures, the excess of light brought gently,
you at first grieve the faint glow as you would any
companion, even immersed in further pleasures you
hadn’t imagined, but heaven is your many loves laughing
among them. And the king, whose only companion
has been all he’s never missed, affirms every pleasure,
and realizes there is no other heaven.
Soren Stockman’s poems are forthcoming in Michigan Quarterly Review, Bennington Review, and Narrative, and have appeared recently in The Iowa Review, the PEN Poetry Series, The Literary Review, Tin House Online, Tupelo Quarterly, Southword Journal, BOAAT, Bellevue Literary Review, and Horsethief, among others. Awarded First Place in the Narrative 30 Below Contest, he is the recipient of fellowships from New York University, the Ucross Foundation, the New York State Summer Writers Institute, and the Lacawac Artists’ Residency. Stockman works at the NYU Creative Writing Program, and as Curator for Springhouse Journal.