Grace Mattern



Blizzard Book 2

 


Losing Track

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.

 

My Work


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