Julia Knobloch: Don’t Break the Spell
Paul Jarvis

Paul Jarvis


After poems by Georg Trakl


Deer 1

Placidity flows from the forest edge and

engulfs the trace back home

toward the shore behind the hills,

where migrants once departed

to traverse rivers, canyons, and what lay beyond.


Some deer emerge at dusk.

From within the crimson now turned blue,

unseen glances contemplate

four hundred miles and forty four;

ten thousand years of inquiries.


Is the house by the bay still unhurt?


Vigilant are the deer’s warm eyes,

they conjure threatened promises

while jugglers amble through the dark

blue woods; blackbirds and poets, too.


Don’t break the spell.


Deer 2

The asphalt on the ramp has burst.

An animal has broken down

and perished at the curb.


Distorted limbs have stiffened,

dull eyes perpetuate tarred terror.

A final wheeze hovers unnoticed through the afternoon.


Cars rush past like saturated vultures,

brown bricks loom above frail structures.

Poppies poke through dusty cracks and

wane beneath a white, blind sky.


The bay is gray and dry,

the house a sand-invaded ruin.


Land of Disenchantment.


Deer 3

Beams of mellow light break through the opaque air,

rising murmurs fill the silvane empire.

Perception blurs as evening approaches –

is it real?


Immobile, a deer stands by the wayside, staring,

remindful of beloved sounds: a flute, recitals and

lost merriment.

Oh, speechless heart under brown satin skin!


Another step. One step too many or just enough

to shoo the luring spirits.

The deer flees trembling into hiding places,

dissolves among green, gold and yellow faces.


The silence of the forest locks away the magic.

In the clearing, an ancient grief bestows protection.

Late at night, the innkeeper turns off the lamp.


Infinity, almost visible.


It is written:

The first child opens the womb --

after 40 days it counts.

Death has opened and reopened mine;

now it’s empty, and dry, and

I look for my lost children

in the lovers I take,

misguided choices

that only lead to more sadness, and pain.


I content myself with loving

rather than being loved;

I tell myself I’m being needed

when in fact I’m being used.


As I wade through the sunshine,

engulfed in heavy thoughts,

I see my shadow saunter on the sidewalk;

I want to caress and hold the young woman I was,

curious to learn about life and what it feels like:

to be loved and really --

Why not?


That’s what I call out through my tears

when I lie awake and yearn for those years

when a rotating fan in the night

promised laughter and light.

Julia Knobloch is a journalist and translator turned project manager and executive assistant. Before moving to New York from Berlin, she worked 10+ years as a writer and producer for TV documentaries and radio features. Her essays and reportages have been published in print and online publications in Germany, Argentina, and the US (openDemocracy, Brooklyn Rail, Reality Sandwich). She occasionally blogs for ReformJudaism.org, and she recently was awarded the Poem of the Year prize from Brooklyn Poets for her poem Daylight Saving Time. Julia lives in Sunset Park.