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Maureen Alsop

August 2008

Untitled Collection

Bird Carriage Matins

The birds rented
the motel-moon
& for hours. Song
under the light,
barge in the body of my dream,
a chorus of praise
me me me.
Indulgence: the echo

within the temple
thuds its sleazy bell
against the heart. An evaporation

of something cirrus,
the motor hums
then goes…

(by morning we’re back to feather)

At crackshot dawn
the bird’s banter
does not suffer. But
the mistletoe floss
sweats in the trees
like a menopausal swelling
of green in winter.

Spoiled sun, worried sun,
I have made no decision.

I don’t remember
waking through the event of my birth.

My mother like a dusting toward famish…

what weathered sky of her
might I carry.

Hypothetical Octaves in Cerise & Haint Blue

Thumb-size, a train sharpens the edge
of the horizon. A tail-flicking wing-wag
of a storm petrel passes as her field notes
splay at her ankles, disappear
into brown heat & Texarkana dust
cakes her mascara. Beneath the clanging ribcage
of the village bell she waits. Twice, without echo,
a tiny pill slips under her tongue. A medical twilight

infests her skin & her blank face flushes, then closes
from all angles. There is a bright haint
over which she will not travel. So full
she is no longer beyond what—the half moon swallows
her swell. Still, you strain not to call her name
as conversation lisps limply around the dinner table
& a muscular dazzle of her grays. What you imagine
she would sing rises. You hear it faint.

The Whale

He was not like us. A failed white tarp
taut to his injured chin.
We were deep-kneed-ferocious-record
keepers stuck in the scrawl of a notebook.

He asked us why we didn’t come anymore. Then, who were we? We
were failures that appeared
between departures. What light there was

we made the most of: spiders, voles, silverfish
skittered in our seams. The weighted chart
stretched over clipboards was a galaxy
of pinholes and erasuremarks. We measured
sixteen days between vertebrae and tide. Held his eye—
hockey puck size.

Someone said he seizured. Someone heard
a calf moan. He had no ears. No fever. No hearse.

Maureen Alsop's poems have appeared or are pending in various publications including AGNI, Borrow Street, Cortland Review, MARGIE, Typo, North Dakota Quarterly, Columbia a Journal of Literature and Art, and Texas Review, among others. Her poetry was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Alsop is the recent recipient of Harpur Palate’s 2007 Milton Kessler Memorial Award in Poetry, Bitter Oleander’s 2007 Frances Locke Memorial Award in Poetry and Eleventh Muse’s 2006 Poetry Prize. She is the author of two chapbooks, Origin of Stone and Nightingale Habit (2006, Finishing Line Press). Her first full collection of poetry, Apparition Wren, is pending publication later this year, and she is an associate editor for the online journal Poemeleon.
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