‘A WORLD THAT IS NOT REALLY A WORLD,’ a poem by Elaine Kahn

A blank billboard stands in the middle of a desert landscape.
(Willem Verbeeck / For The Times)

This story is part of Image issue 8, “Deserted,” a supercharged experience of becoming and spiritual renewal. Enjoy the trip! (Wink, wink.) See the full package here.

the heavens stretch
the apple
of a sky that sucks
at peace and finitude —
the natural lies
the living alters
what’s alive about it
is offensive
in a way that’s paradise
a kind of gravity
to ruining what ruins
when I was gone
my breast relaxed
I told the desert
what it cost

Elaine Kahn is the author of “Romance or The End” (Soft Skull, 2020) and “Women in Public” (City Lights, 2015). She lives in L.A. and teaches at Poetry Field School.

Willem Verbeeck is a Belgian photographer based in Los Angeles, primarily focusing his work on the everyday landscapes around him.