Three Poems by Alison Palmer







This morning is sickening— 
                                  the photograph on my desk from before
            the day the birds quit
                                                circling, you
a pair of silent eyes—


And how
            often can I write beauty
                                    into pain—

I want you
to know again the stunning curves of your calves, the
                        invitations from the bend in your arms
to come, dance—

But these are merely waking dreams. I begin
                                               as any cloud—
            will I be made of ice or water,
                                   will it be a low-lying day—

Our faces, fringes
                       on a sun-stiff background—
                                               I wish to unspool
       you down to bone where
                   no heart can be—

We Are Not Tied to Our Body’s Weight on Earth

So I lift you.

You are breath in my cupped hands.

You are less than air.

The flowers miss you.

I’ve become how they can’t blossom.

This time last year maybe laughter.

I think, how sorrowful is sorrow’s life?

I think, falling is instant loss.

You’re always somewhere behind my eyes.

How I wish they were blue like yours.

I look in the mirror to own a piece of you.

My mouth speaks your name and closes.

A Cartographer’s Confusion

The sun at Polaris.

Between the moon and the Pleiades.

Angles our hips destroy, one pressed on the other.

And east of our bed, vased-tulips, a card
with animals on the front that reads:

            Meant for each otter 

How closely I let my lips pull to yours
                                    as you fall asleep at a forty-five
                       arms splayed, and I have you, starfish.

If you’re an intercardinal direction, then
            southwest (SW). I lie
between the letters, the “x” degree, down

                        by your bare feet now, curling the map.

So, the sextant,
                       compass, quadrant. I turn the telescope
                                   on you.

You’re a space observatory.

You’re a weatherman.

You’re a spy.

Alison Palmer is the author of the poetry chapbook, The Need for Hiding (Dancing Girl Press, 2018). To read an in-depth interview with The Poet’s Billow visit Alison’s work appears in FIELD, Bear Review, River Styx, Glass, Cimarron, Cincinnati Review, LAR and elsewhere. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and a finalist for Eyewear Publishing’s Sexton Prize, Alison lives and writes outside Washington, D.C.

Image by Bartolomeo Pareto (1455) –
img/anticuemaps/bartolomeo_pareto_1455.jpeg, Public Domain,

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