Featured Poet

Lightsey Darst

( Minneapolis, Minnesota )


Postcard from the Upper Peninsula

I met you where there are no people 
and people cannot grow: a coast (we were summer) where winter
thins pines to arrowshafts, carves 
rock for arrowheads.

Your name, my
name, things wind took
from us even as we offered them.
As any gift between us would be.

The pine trees. Given a map
of the bright moon we searched 
for the marked seas: sea of rains, of clouds, 
a vacation spot, we could have had a cottage, sea 

of tranquility.
Where we met, no house. No garden. Only the beach 
with its jutting bones, ribs of something huge,
which I see now for the first time 

in this photograph: 
us, aglow, arms
entangled; behind, the deep-water lover winter
wrecked the year before.

Snow Country

White winter fox, you say
the men I used to kiss
have shifted coats, 
like you, and dug tight
dirt-pack dens. But why 
hide from the weather: 

ice tickles the skin, tears
harden to jewels, and frost
burns, a purer fire.


On the way to this gallery I hit a dog.
No tag, had the mange, bones 
showing like clothes hangers. What could 

I do but help his carcass off the road, clean
the bumper of my black sedan of blood, pluck

him one dandelion, 
a yellow reckless head.

Thank you, I’ll have a glass of red. I’d forgotten
all about it until now. Why do we expect
            any dignity in death—

it has no survival value; a road,
gas station bathroom, any place

as good as any other.	This
		soiree, these long-stemmed
glitterati clinking
flutes, this effervescent eve—

none of it assures anything.
Look at the painting, 

this new acquisition we’re celebrating. Black 
ingot of ground, gray wall above, purple gleam 

hung between—some glory, but all
near ground level.


The long thigh-veins of the land
lie open, the moon 
presses its sickle to the hip. As far away as the satellite 

man who spins the Requiem this Saturday night, you

drink your claret, tide it
against the glass wall. I lean
against my table, maple blood

from the thick plank of dead
wood staining my shirt placket. I thought I was done

until you called
again. Until you breathed
I thought you were dead to me and I
didn’t care. I thought I had spent it all

until I learned to borrow. I thought I was a free

woman until the earth
turned on its back, defenseless
under night.

Fragment from the Middle of a Sequence

We the wind-gluttons
broached in the lake.
Learning to drive but we don’t know

any of the bright roads home—
hand over hand the halyard in,
the bright umbilical cord between. . . 
	The mechanism at the inside of your wrist

a crank, raising what; wind,
and sails fatten like fed wives, rope
chafes my hands red as with
      your kiss:	two hands

on the wheel and lightning, I could never
see the road for you—

stones tumbled smooth
in the child’s toy, who’s to say
while they turn which
		is the emerald—

Next - Ann Lederer


Current Issue - Winter 2005