Anton Yakovlev

March 20, 2023 Yakovlev Anton



Later in life, we enter the neighborhood
bookstore and survey the new arrivals. We leaf
through the bestselling picture book about the Moon
that bites people. Down from the sky it swoops
and takes a chunk right out of you. A big chunk.
Sometimes a whole limb. A spleen. A heart.
The Moon is always big brother, and at the most
counterintuitive moment it will come down
and sink its teeth into you. Could happen to any of us.
Sometimes it dispenses life lessons. That
may be the most dispiriting part. The Moon
might put a bromide in your ear about
what to do if at first you don’t succeed,
then bite your ear right off, or even your head.
Children of all ages must be telling each other
in hushed voices about the Moon’s victims
and the shades of pink the trees acquire
while the Moon gently creeps. “Isn’t this amazing?”
you say. “I wish I had thought of this.
This is the freshest thing I’ve seen in years!”
I cannot help but agree and notice how
your jawline, which used to fascinate me till morning,
reflects the sun, except for the eclipses.

Anton Yakovlev’s latest poetry chapbook Chronos Dines Alone won the James Tate Prize. He is also the author of Ordinary Impalers (Kelsay Books, 2017) and two prior chapbooks. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Hopkins Review, upstreet, Poetry Daily, and elsewhere. His book of translations The Last Poet of the Village: Selected Poems by Sergei Yesenin came out from Sensitive Skin Books in 2019. A former education director at Bowery Poetry Club, Anton co-hosts the Carmine Street Metrics reading series in Manhattan and the Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow reading series in Rutherford, New Jersey.