Blizzard Book 2
I lose track of my shadow
the night I lose track of the moon.
She’s always been clear I don’t own her
even when I pin her to the earth.
I don’t need to be followed, can live
with emptiness behind, and above
the bloated face is gone—hooded
eyes, a dash of nose, smudged mouth.
I wait for the estate of dawn—
as slivers slip in thin air I hold
out my hands to collect the silver
then scatter the captured glint.
Licking Her Paws
She hurls curses and begins with men, flexes her paws to spread the claws
wide and rake faces into furrows, hopes blood will help the healing.
She calls a convocation of crones to wield ladles in cauldrons of broth
conjured to know from the inside who to nourish, who to poison.
Saplings sprout where bodies fall, rise and ripen into trees, open leafed
and bearing seed pods that spill secrets that no longer need keeping.
She licks her paws, claws retracted, fur soft on her tongue.
I was taught to read left
to right, to follow the arrow always
pointing in one direction.
Yet birds cross continents to breed
then fly back with the sun
following berries and insects.
I’m ready for reversal, to surrender
the colonies in my brain, let new colors
blossom along the default network.
I call on the cross and staff to bend and curl,
empty my pockets and accept
the feather crow left me.
Song for America
This land is not yours and not
mine and not made but silenced so where
is hope buried? The mountains
of my horizon frost white
on cold mornings, melt back to ash
as the day warms. In summer
my neighbor leaves milk at my door
capped with silk from meadow grasses
unrolled across hummocks
of granite whose steep edges poke small cliffs
in wooded hillsides
carpeted in leaf litter and hardy moss
undaunted by thirst. Spring
unfurls its ribbons, diamonds and skyways
shine as fog lifts
and a voice chants notes once lost
to forests and fields, the story
that rises in us as we sing.
Grace Mattern's poetry and prose have been published widely, including in The Sun, Prairie Schooner, Brevity Blog, Calyx and Appalachia. Recent publications, in Hole-in-the-Head Review and Atticus Review, showcase her visual/sculptural poetry. Mattern has received fellowships from the New Hampshire State Arts Council and Vermont Studio Center and been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart Prizes. Her book The Truth About Death won the NH Readers’ Choice Award for Outstanding Work of Poetry in 2014. Her collages and sculptural poems were exhibited in Salon 2021 at Kimball Jenkins Estate, and an upcoming exhibition, Intent/Abstract at Twiggs Gallery, will feature more of her collages. www.gracemattern.com Instagram: @gracemattern