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A Different Wakeful Animal


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David Martinson-Meadowhawk Prize, Red Dragonfly Press


"My body, …
it is not the earth I will miss,
it is you I will miss." – Louise Glück

I say good riddance to my body,
its conspiracy of veins
and bowels and vertebrae.
I can trust a deer to pick its way
through trees, a daffodil
to bully its way through frost. Once,
I saw the silhouette of a baby seal
held inside the translucence of a wave
like a portrait in a locket. How quartz
threads through rock, and a heron
threads through air then lands
and stills to a piece of quartz.
The way even weeds flower. Just now
the dullest brown bird appeared,
clumsy at our feeder, and picked
at soggy seed. I watched the quiver
of its tail while it fed its hunger.
Need I say bodies must be fed?
I say the earth is the body I will miss.
Even if I could only touch it dis-
embodied, send a shiver
down the outstretched limb
of a single eucalyptus.
Even if I could touch down only
in the linear brittle body
of a dragonfly, one evening,
some rank bog, skim
the skin and flit.

--originally in Valparaiso Poetry Review (as "Valentine")

News about poems from my second collection A Different Wakeful Animal:

Three poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, "The Golden Hills of California" which appeared in Redactions, "Credo," by the California Quarterly, and "Describe a Holy Building," from Aeolian Harp Vol. 1 by Glass Lyre Press.

"Minor Collisions" won an Atlanta Review International Publication Prize, as did "Ode to the Brown Pelican" and "Viewing Guernica in Madrid," which also was published in the Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. "Starlings" appeared in Hunger Mountain, "Night's Mouth" in the Los Angeles Review and "Full Lunar Eclipse" in Tule Review. "Death in the Face" was published in Mudfish 18, as a finalist for their national award. "Birding by Ear" and "Freefall" won the 2012 Literal Latte Poetry Prize and appear online in the Winter 2013 issue.

An earlier version of "Quiver," can be read in the Fall/Winter 2012-3 Valparaiso Poetry Review under the title "Valentine." "Strata" (with audio) appeared in the winter 2012 issue of Able Muse as a finalist for the Able Muse Write Prize. Southern Humanities Review published "Every Minute Drove It Wilder," which also appears in the Bloomsbury Review of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry.

"Their Voices" can be found at Anderbo where Debora Greger chose it for the 2011 Anderbo Poetry Prize. "Reportorial" won the 2013 Milton Kessler Memorial Poetry Award from Harpur Palate. Greensboro Review published "Why Whales Are Poems," Sou'wester "The Milkmaid," and Salamander "In Her Eyes." "To Her Fingerprints" and "To the Brooches My Mother Wore" can be found online at Connotations Press. "We Descend" and "San Rossio Square" appear in the anthology Extinguished and Extinct (Twelve Winters Press). "If You're Reading This You May Be a Baboon" was printed in a pamphlet of Beyond Baroque contest winners and online at Canary.

Other publications include "Reading Fernando Pessoa in Portugal," and "We Bones Who Are Here," online at Blue Lyra; "To My Breath" and "Magician" in Poet Lore; "Vision" in Tar River Poetry; and "Tips on How To Become a Fossil" and "To My Shadow" in Sow's Ear Poetry Review. "Fog Week," can be read online at West Trestle Review where editors also selected it for their annual letterpress chapbook, Catenary. "After the Boston Marathon Bombing" is online at Rattle as part of their Poets Respond feature. "Describe a Holy Building" and "Tensed in Black and White" are included in the debut volume of Aeolian Harp Anthology from Glass Lyre Press.