Cedarbird calls one feeble note.

There is no danger. We pretend

we are far and happy as the long

river of stars gleam

like a deserted invention

and small flocks of waxwing in the south branch

lapse into an unfolding blank; there is no following

their cadence into the unsettled

ground which pools

with a tremulous rust. I blush

over the singularity of what is

both firmament and departure. You,

yourself, grow into singing. Ferns

bud among the west grass, wild plums

scatter in the winter glade and among it,

that knowing, too, the flat leaf,

the vessel–a blade of grass

made bare by its own anatomy.



Naming Valhalla

Uncalled snow met eyelash gentle as the dirt

kiss of your mouth. You stand in the glade

of bachelor buttons where the bristle trees

thin into gun smoke and winter

holds the dull variables of accident.

I have never been your lover, but I have read

the city of your glass streets like wet pages, seen plum trees

bloom from the conch pink shale of your chest

and the hawk’s spine touch your forehead. In the eye of my eye

your eye rests

a storm torn dream of shipwreck. We take ourselves

under the canyon waters’ drift. O sailor in raft waves,

I’ve been known to lift anchor in hurricanes

and with my starch flag I am signaling. Signaling. The breadth

of my death, the lean shine of it

which will come just as you promised.



The Summer from Which I Come

On the high bluff of Huron’s coastline she remembers only

I am not in the room. I’m vibrant gone

on the lake edge. All over August,

dotted after images of green, everything

last seen around her. Rafters of the house

pixilated in dust, old conversations

polish the wide table with chairs. Ink dries

over her lips. Sleep is water

spilling through cranium. Under her spell,

in my wool coat, a blare at the window, the whole house

boarded in a fresh dark.



L’Heure Bleue

A minimal gold horizon dusts a pigeon’s nest. Everywhere

the sky is named. So many darknesses, so few actions

known after the talk of the heart. The sun remained

unwritten, but now it is a page fallen open,

the last blaze of snow. I consider the gloss. Maybe

it is the headlight’s glow, a liquid noise

among the reeds. Somewhere

stars spill into my turning–dirt pale stitches

on my Nordic sweater burn green, intrinsic.


Maureen Alsop is the author of two full collections of poetry, Apparition Wren (Main Street Rag, 2007) and The Diction of Moths (Ghost Road Press, pending). She is also the author of several chapbooks, most recently Luminal Equation in the collection Narwhal (Cannibal Press, 2009) and the dream and the dream you spoke (Spire Press, pending). She is the winner of Harpur Palate’s Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry and The Bitter Oleander’s Frances Locke Memorial Poetry Award. Her recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various journals including Blackbird, Tampa Review, New Delta Review, Typo and AGNI. Visit her at:

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