Sky an Oar, XXV/IV/MMXVI
We laundered our t-shirts in the citadel. An animal bond to a keeper.
How do you record dark’s finery of unstitched hems. Drop by drop the night fell
in love with its own indifference. O, Tender Conductor, do you
remember your name. Botany’s secret
is a mural of constellations, remedies soiled roots, and mistakenly
I’d abandoned a leaf’s indigo socket, but there and there each acre
became a horse’s master. We were those who live against fire’s spine.
I wish I’d never seen that country tangled in smoke,
or any war possessed by doubt.
Sky an Oar, VII/XII/MMXVI
The dark said that things could go on loving. Moss grew up the drain and roman grasses reflected June’s long window; shadow’s sun inside shadow’s shadow. She shared,
before the ocean rendered cobalt, what she could. The ghostly
walking away with her gloves, up the stairs somewhere into the old night. The night that is kind.
What so now I wonder. What sleep’s dreamless trek of snow. What easy first breath made last and whose as whole. Without our lowest guard of pride. We eased the time before the tracery bells beneath the sea seemed perfectly new, and noon’s intermediary horizon rose into discourse.
S. Billie Mandle. no. 25 from This World Is the Closed Door, 2016.
Maureen Alsop, Ph.D., is the author of Apparition Wren, Mantic, Later Knives & Trees, and Mirror Inside Coffin. Her poems have appeared in a variety of journals including Blackbird, TYPO, Tampa Review, Kenyon Review, and Poetry Salzburg Review, among others. She is the recipient of several poetry awards and honors, including Harpur Palate’s Milton Kessler Poetry Award.
S. Billie Mandle is a photographer whose work looks at subjectivity and the built environment. Some of her recent projects have explored church confessionals, Emily Dickinson’s bedroom, and convent walls. She received her B.A. in biology from Williams College and an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She is the recipient of a Whiting Fellowship, an Individual Artist Grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council, and an Artist Fellowship in Photography from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her photographs have been featured in Aperture and Cabinet, among others, and her work was nominated for the Prix Pictet and the Paul Huf award. She is an assistant professor at Hampshire College and lives in Western Massachusetts.