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Kimberly Cloutier Green


In the lamp’s cone

of soft light

the moth’s sudden


and the slow-wing scent

of mock orange, single stem

in a water glass

A few books at rest too—

in one, a girl is just now

always now

slipping into the same cool pond

alight with the dazzled stars

There are things you can say

in one language

you cannot say in another

so the books exchange

a violet breath

The words and the hushed

spaces between words

sigh and turn

over in their sleep

forgetting all they meant


You must have read my mind,

dear wound-dresser,

dear a-child-could-have-made-it—

two cut-out hearts, made from scraps

of cotton gauze, airy material,

and laid upon a white paper field,

one atrial curve just touching the other,

knew I’d blow one soft breath,

to see the unfixed image slip from its page,

lift against gravity and briefly glide,

then fall in the wordless and everywhere light

these meant-to-be-dismantled hearts were made in—

Make me something I can’t hold, no ink, no glue,

make me something true.


She has slipped off her shoes

and climbed the stone steps

to the camphor trees overhanging the yard,

where she sits now to cool

her feet in the grass—

close by, her child listens to birds.

His absorption, briefest hush,

is a kind of absence.

He has always been fastidious—a neatness

in his small weight, his close attentions, that quick

pulse in the blue vein at his temple—

asking again and again and again

the names of birds.

She keeps an unfinished story in each

pocket of her heart—longing

for everything, for nothing, for radiance

is every tale’s beginning.

In one, her body, its hungers, is a wide

river he crosses on a bridge the birds

have made with their wings.

He’s forgetting something she thinks

seeing him wave from the far bank.

Meanwhile the trees in the yard

pour down their green light.

Thrushes she says

as he strokes the rough

bottoms of her feet.

Kimberly Cloutier Green is a poet, collaborating artist, and spiritual director living in Kittery Point, Maine. A MacDowell Colony Fellow and recent Pushcart Prize nominee, she is a recipient of the Aldrich Poetry Prize and a Maine Community Foundation Martin Dibner Fellowship in Poetry. Her first full-length collection of poems, The Next Hunger, was released in April, 2013, by Bauhan Publishing/UPNE. She was the 9th Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, NH.

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