This morning is sickening—
the photograph on my desk from before
the day the birds quit
a pair of silent eyes—
often can I write beauty
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
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 www.thepoetsbillow.org. 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) – http://www.smoliy.ru/
img/anticuemaps/bartolomeo_pareto_1455.jpeg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58376634