‘Body Heat’ by Jacquelyn Malone

One of our regular readers, writer and poet Jacquelyn Malone, shows up today as a contributor. Jackie is living in Lowell for the second time around; she was here during the high-tech boom of the late ’70s and into the ’80s. I was introduced to her work in the ’80s when I learned that she had been awarded a prestigious writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. To my knowledge, she is the only Lowell resident who has ever received one of these very competitive fellowships. Her work has been published widely. We’re happy that she’s back in the community, enjoying the “New Lowell.”–PM


Body Heat


The Farm Beneath the Sand is called the Viking Pompeii.

                   —a New York Times article


The climate hardened, and the Norse left

the forty rooms where, under one roof, the last

residue huddled — to conserve body heat. Then

for centuries the Farm Beneath the Sand lay buried

in a river of glacial grit.

                                    All waters run to Lethe,

the great stream that takes in farms, hopes, genes

in the same bed. Civilizations swirl in its eddies,

going — in the water’s turns — from conqueror to conquered

before they sink amid clay pots, a shred of cloth, the stone

marker no one left can read, animal bones, body lice — all

going down like the rumored feats of dragon prows

that cut the Arctic seas, like Atlantis, the Easter gods,

or the Library of Alexandria — memory of mankind — going

under, washed as clean of human dreams as time, as sand.


—Jacquelyn Malone (c) 2010