Skip to content
Back to issue
From: Vol.10 N.01 – The Transformative Now

Arc of the Covenant

by Jesse Caverly
The poem is a call to arms 
a flank made of glass on any given animal so you can 
examine the organs, the viscera, in case there's trouble

The poem is written in blood 
a razor blade serves as a bookmark 
pages are made of thousands of years of pressure 
the cover is marble

When the war came the poem was disbanded 
the spine removed, the pages unspooled into four parts and 
trusted with guardians who would go the separate ways of the compass
knowing they would reunite once a peace treaty was settled

The poem has been pursued by the servants of three letter mafias, secret services, 
secret societies, dark alliances and cartels, cults and gurus, 
the poem is coveted by the ruthless and by idiot savants of sublime knowing 

The poem is both ego death and blinding enlightenment
the poem has collapsed lungs, cured schizophrenia, inspired aneurysms, diffused tumors, 
swept lovers off their feet and swept indigenous souls under the rug of manifest destiny 
the poem is manifesto and grimoire

It is said the poem is the 11th commandment 
it is engraved on Musashi Miyamoto's katana 
it was the top-secret name of Fat Man and Little Boy 
legend has it the post-explosion shadows on the remaining walls 
of Hiroshima are the right shadow puppets if placed in the right order

It is said the poem shows itself in cataclysmic events
in the strut of supermodels on the runway, in the majesty of our mountains 
the catch is we cannot decipher it, after all, our codebreakers are only human and sometimes manunkind

The poem is intensely pursued but the poem is intensely private 
the poem is a master of disguise 
a master of locks and deadbolts 
a weaver of labyrinth, a spider of many webs
the poem is a whisper

Would you believe me if I told you I have read it? 
That the poem has burrowed itself within my memories, 
has wiped my recollection 
so that I do not know it, but I know it has plans for me
the poem will activate when the time is right

You have read it as well. We are, the both of us, all of us, 
limbs to an unassembled Voltron of 1 million arms 
Shiva and Yama don't got shit on the poem

The poem is a saber of light 
both cauldron and crucible 
it is our immolation, it is the rich loam of 
our ashes, it is caterpillar to butterfly

The poem is in our DNA, not as rungs on the ladder 
but as the twisting frame of the ladder itself

The poem has been here since forever, and will be here long 
after we have left our mortal coil, after we have placed coins over our eyes, 
after we have offered our heads to be strung along the necklace of the old gods

The poem is just a touch away, right around the corner, beneath our fingerprints, 
it is simply there for us to read and to recite, to whisper and shout from the rooftops, 
the poem is always ready to be heard
Published: June 2023
Jesse Caverly

was born an hour outside of Boston but he and his mother quickly became nomads. He doesn’t remember much about Tucson and everything about Hawaii. There, he had a small white terrier as a pet. There, he collected comic books and ate guavas fresh off the branch. Then they moved to California, high school was all right, college didn’t happen but life did. He was most recently published in New Note Poetry, Chapter House Journal, and Grim & Gilded. He is a storyteller, proud father of a wilding and an occasional poet. He resides in Arcata, Humboldt County. He can be found at

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.