Poems

To the BRCA Gene

Published in Mom Egg Review (Note that both printed copies and PDFs of this issue are available for purchase at the web site.)
 

Types of Animals

Published in pangyrus
 

after Borges

some by branching by bivalve by colony by loping by leaping
some disguised in waiting in watching by blending in motion
some in color in welcome whose wealth was seductions

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Pandemic

Published in pangyrus
 

Some saw a raven with ruptured feathers.
Some smelled the homeless millions pressed
inside a drop of blood. Some felt dark planets

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How to Make a No-Sew Coronavirus Mask From a Poem

Published in pangyrus
 
  1. After you’ve read this poem, place it
    on your kitchen table

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The Galapagos Tortoise

Published in RHINO
 

Here’s a video of me reading my poem “The Galapagos Tortoise,” which was published in the 2020 issue of RHINO.  I made the video in response to a call from RHINO: they had to cancel their release party because of the coronavirus and asked contributors to participate in a virtual launch. I’m joined by one of the giant tortoises from the island of St. Croix.

Enjoy!

 

Green Jug

Published in Rockvale Review
 

Mother, I’m here with your painted copy of a Cezanne still life
that hangs over the dry sink you bought
with my father years before
I was born.

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Every Second Must be the Duration of Something

Published in Rockvale Review
 

Begin with light slathering the eel grass
and the horizon, a wide what-if.

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Coming Upon a Young Screech Owl

Published in Threepenny Review
 

I’d found a young screech owl on the sidewalk a block from my house, its talons sunk, in death, in the nape of a rabbit kit.

Epoch

 

This summer I took part in  “Art on the Trails: Unexpected Gestures” at the Beals Preserve in Southborough, MA. Poets were invited to respond to one or more sculptures installed along the trail that meanders through the preserve’s woods, meadows, and pond. My poem “Epoch” was one of two to receive an honorable mention. When I first glimpsed Robert Shanahan’s powerful sculpture “Entelodant” in the woods, adrenalin surged through my body along with the impulse to run from what looked like a giant, very lifelike warthog (on closer examination, artfully made from reeds and brush)! (Entelodant went extinct 65 million years ago.)

EPOCH

The earth collects on all its debts

—Michael Crummey

 

Beast, with your bronzed fur of reeds and twigs,

your stone teeth, your hooves, stone-cloven,

the stripe of sumac threaded through

 

your flank. Whorl of your woven ear.

The snarl of you, moving through

the gape of your snout. Bristling

 

comma of tail where the spider has knit its web.

Entelodont, you are the dark other who makes

the small mammal in me shudder.

 

You, swept through the Oligocene’s long wake,

peering back, late and strange. We, too,

wear ourselves thin.

 

When we are as you have become,

who will know us, who will call us

by the hard-washed light of our name?

Moss Muse

Published on Boston Sculptors Gallery
 

CLICK HERE to watch me reading my persona poem, ‘”Moss Muse,” at the opening reception of the Breath and Matterexhibit at Boston Sculptors Gallery, July 18, 2018.

MOSS MUSE

We slid
from inland ponds
and algal strands
once ozone
made it safe
to make our way
to land. But we’re not
primitive, just down
to earth, growing right
under your feet
in girths,
clumps,
fronds,
tufts,
and sheets.

Wise and sly,
we are discrete.
Looking meek,
we crawl
and creep
in the boundary layers,
trapping heat
and water vapor.

And while we’re small,
that’s not all:
we’ve a genius
for filling
the emptiness—
snatching
a scant gap,
spreading
between cracks.

We can haul ourselves
up a wall
with no falderal,
and still leave our mark
on logs, stumps, and bark.

For a lark, some of us
park on the backs
of beetles, wheedling rides.

Everyone stomps
on our backs,
which helps
our rhizoids
latch and attach.

We’ve no need
for seeds or roots,
flowers or fruit.
We adore
opening
our pores,
throwing
our spores
to the wind,
finding rapport
in the shadiest
out-of-the way.

Our sex is
complex:
some sperm
swim to eggs
on a single
splash of water—
but some are
too slow
or get stalled
by the wall
of a water droplet.
So we’ve devised
more ways
to multiply.

Some of us are
celibate, propagate
by cloning
body parts—
bulbils,
brood bodies,
and branchlets
that detatch,
disperse,
immersed
in new habitats.

We have our pets, too,
never neglecting
the welter
of invisible fauna
to whom we give
food and shelter—
sharing our lairs
with cuddly water bears,
a load of rotifers,
springtails
with thin tails,
flowing nematodes,
the delightful mite.

Here’s our secret
to doing without
in times of drought:
dried up and shriveled
we’re not dead,
but dormant.
And before
we shut down,
our genes
will have written
precise
genetic
instructions
for our resurrection.

For we know
the ways of rain,
the art of waiting—
100 years if we must—
unflustered, gathering
dust, packed
tightly together,
holding onto each other,
until water,
our goddess—
bestows just one drop:
in only seconds,
we reckon,
we revive,
photosynthesize,
thriving
on proteins,
restored to life
and to luster,
parading
once more
in the shade,
our stock and trade,
sipping dew,
and rising anew.

— Wendy Drexler, 2018