Issue > Poetry
Alessandra Lynch

Alessandra Lynch

Alessandra Lynch is the author of two books of poetry: Sails the Wind Left Behind (Alice James Books, 2002) and It Was a Terrible Cloud at Twilight (Pleiades/LSU Press, 2008). Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, jubilat, The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares and The Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. She has had residencies at the MacDowell Colony for the Arts and Yaddo. She teaches at Butler University and lives near an Indianapolisian canal.

When The Body Drifts Off

losses accumulate like pollen—
there's one and it's deadly and beautiful and then the sky
is flowering with ghosts.
     When the body drifts off, there is no voice
to draw it back.  Its name is lost, its places float
anonymous.  Rib of sun, lung of cloud . . .

Small Door In The Fog

My sister says why forgiveness
which I think of as a small door in the fog     
that I might slip through,

hauling the women—                    
their blown glass, their smithereens—          
in a little sack—

that we might un-body:               

not drop them.                          
not set them                         
to flight. I will hold them                    
and their small, sharp cries.

Or: what if I were simply to live
with what has been done?  

Would I tiptoe around                          
or storm?  
Tell it as a bead till it's worn down—     
unremarkable in my hands               
that won't stop quivering, no matter what.


When the yellow bird dropped
from the tree, I did not think
to name it. Its beak clacked, its thin tongue
darted in and out. The gray eye was like
the lidded human eye of someone
I loved far back. The wings frantically
beat against dirt. I did not cover it
with a leaf or prod it to stop but continued
to watch its failing heart.
After it died, I did not touch
its yellow precision but drew a careful circle
to mark its compass points—tail-feathers
fanned out, head oddly twisted,
legs gnarled as twigs—to mark
its transformation, to mark my witness.


Were they the girly ones     frillishly dizzy     splattered
pink or dark     sequin twist of scarlet
Were they riotous yellow     crumpled bloom     bow-ridden & festooned
or were they plain as a napkin for one polite cough

Were they printed hot-stuff or come-and-get-it
Were they lacily feathered      given to flight       Were they stickered with princess
& swingset or broody red lip-print & tongue-lick
Did they skin leopards     or pare zebra-skin      
Were they a satin slide-down quickie
How many eye-lets       How much crotch      Banded or not

Were they bandage or wing when you wore them
& when he yanked them         did they sink
go  limp like a flag   meaty breath across your
face      dead animal breath
that could not resuscitate

even while he heaved & you went absent
below        panties crudding with the blood
the dry flies crave         You did not
bury them           You did not fold
launder or throw them away
into a public receptacle but left them
where they lay:     small as a child's      too scared
to stir a stitch      to snitch

a little wilt around your ankles


Start with shawls & soft bits like rain. Ward off muffled bangs & blows. Quiet the grass in its ransacked field. Seek hard things to keep the body safe. Seek bone. If bone's a murderous clank, circle the pitted world. Quiet the owl in its damaged wood. Feign being air—maneuver between star & dirt. Reel hard from this wound. Err as bang & blow, find safety in the wind. Flick on the snow for light. Sit still with falling things.


Alica Friman

Alice Friman
The Real Thing


Amit Majmudar

Amit Majmudar