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.
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.
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: www.apparitionwren.com.
“My favorite model of the best use of a front porch was visiting with my octogenarian father-in-law in Australia who, at 5pm every night, would drink a Victorian Bitter in the front yard as a group of his mates would wander over to chat. This twenty-year habit seems a good ritual for saying goodbye to the day’s work and sharing in a cleansing communal libation!”