Of Landscapes Wild, Fertile
A halo of seabirds guarded her fate. Solace yellowing
into legacy. Fatigue took no surprise as the horse moved
beneath owl’s haze, spreading love’s inscription across the desert.
Water, acid, proof. Offerings made
in joy’s holiness. When I last believed you, dust
froze over our bones. Night cupped in your hands, sacraments edge.
divinations by means of flowers
Stammered currents rouse banks of purple crocus. Your birth occurred when
the pale afternoon waters hallowed a line of tamarisk trees. You now follow
its spine of dry needles. Had you made an error, then you might walk east,
never noticing the cow dung and the boots of a passing soldier
lay against lucent birch. Back through wood rot, you shiver
in a blade of heat, an eel in your jugular, your voice, a solar inflection
can no longer carry your words. One would say it might be over. But out of the sky’s
distillery of starlings another replies that they will usher you. Your beard is a barnacle
lowering the thirst of a dog’s bark into the green, beyond which barber boats
and pontoons drift like scores of unnamed mammals. You are midnight, a black sun,
roots washed, catching a thread of gnats off the surface of the river. But your motions
may be a meaningless addenda, a mixture of breath’s aperture, entrails, lobelia. You will
not be greeted. Salvia spirals up from a flickered bottle backed by a sputtering lantern.
The doorway is a stream upon which the lantern sets. Hunger
softens a spume of flies. Your infection blossoms.
Star Poppies and A Question of Lighthouses in the Afterlife
You moved as night once, a lone room
among the heavens. Seaward, hyperspace,
slowly you recanted water. People
might say it’s fictional, but you told me once: you can go up to the cave
where the star-poppies blossom … can’t you see them?…
there might be people there. I thought
it was your soul breaking loose from prediction, like a flowering hyssop,
fox moss, or an answer to the question of lighthouses
weaving checkered illuminations through the afterlife. I caught
your mind’s inconstant reflection. And the small tower of us
considered the tree outside the window
its wild shadow hollowed our cheeks. The waking sky
soothed your animal breath. Beyond us
the miracle of love would remain unwrecked. Beyond us, I
might glimpse the sixfold galaxy to which you offered your body.
Maureen Alsop, Ph.D. is the author of Apparition Wren, and five chapbooks, including Luminal Equation in the collectionNarwhal (Cannibal Press, 2009), the dream and the dream you spoke (Spire Press), and 12 Greatest Hits. She is the winner ofHarpur Palate’s Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry, The Bitter Oleander’s Frances Locke Memorial Poetry Award, among other honors, including five Pushcart Prize nominations. Her poems have appeared in various journals including The Laurel Review, AGNI, Blackbird, Tampa Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Typo and The Kenyon Review. Maureen is an associate poetry editor for the online journal Poemeleon and Inlandia: A Literary Journal. She presently leads a creative writing workshop for the Inlandia Institute and the Riverside Art Museum. www.maureenalsop.com
Return to Inaugural Edition