Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview


Awake in the dark, I am an animal
frightened by lightning. My voice

disappears with possibility. I can destroy
midnight with white dreams,

decisions lacking forethought.
An hour of snow, a spark of violence.

I do not need light, wind of arrows
against trees. When everyone is asleep

my body translates its bones
into thirst. If the sky turns to glass,

if I shiver as the starlight shivers,
find me rapturous, my hair on fire.


Night arrives without intensity.
My face dissolves under the sky.

The irises of your eyes shift
into a cosmos, blue universe

in mirror images, diamonds
of immortality. I am infinite, I am

wanting—the lake too empty
for this time of year, the snowpack

lowering after three winters
without rain, without freeze.

The cold breaks in a tree hollow,
I feel snow fall inside of me.


I follow the oval tracks of foxes
through the woods, splinter of moon

sleeping above the frozen lake. I watch
a fox tear at the soft body of a rabbit.

Standing beneath pine trees
shrouded with ice, his hunger sings

in my ears. I am thinking of you
waking in the nationless dark,

turning the pillow over, weighing
your body down with blankets.

Elsewhere, I have become mute,
spending all winter in silence.


I dreamt tonight of a glass-bottom boat
floating through a pine forest.

Needles pierced above and below
my reflection in the lake surface.

In the veil of snow, no sound
except the quiescent tones of winter,

the roots of vegetables bursting
inside my finger joints.

Only the moon watches now.
Speak to me, use your drowsy voice,

I cannot sleep anymore—
there’s everything I want to tell you.


My ribs grow more inward by day.
Each night, I sleep with you

in a small room, your breathing
taking up all the air. We speak in sleep,

conversation turning in circles,
our feet slipping on the ice.

My mouth of wanting, your mouth
without solace. I’ve forgotten the weight

of snowfall on slender branches,
how the day moves with stillness

after a great storm. I unsettle a bough,
I watch the white turn to vapor.


Soundlessly, I wander through the forest,
dawn clouding my pale face,

the sun impermanent and cold.
After sleeping, nothing is promised

except heat leaving the house,
snow piling against the windows

like letters I will never write.
I have risked safety for dreams

of honeycomb filling with silver;
impulse to speak against the fear

of losing home, desire to leave
for somewhere without December.  

return to top