by Carol Alexander
Less plumage. Fewer pirate eyepatches skulking around the bins.
Pink retracts to notional seed, leaving a carapace of columbine
the brown of dead cigars. Turkey oaks extrude ungainly acorns,
splayed feet knotted by precipitate gusts of wind.
Spackled squirrels with autoimmune disease, dock-tailed, slow.
Less water from the decommissioned drinking fountains
save when southern rains blow in & slap the cheek
but fall has come— the fortunate fall, proof of a diurnal round.
Those old poems are hauntings (the first steam engines scream)
from the very sudden impulse of this world’s mortality.
Your less than & mine: those monstrous nineteenth-century hats
bedecked with snowy egret, with ostrich & gone grebe dyed bright, my dear,
broken tankers gunking feathers up & scales, the sea humming faintly
all the way from elsewhere to the hard-bitten Battery.
Advertising couplets before sleep. Winter’s henna tracings on the palm.
Carol Alexander is the author of the poetry collections Fever and Bone (Dos Madres Press, 2021), Environments (Dos Madres Press, 2018) and Habitat Lost (Cave Moon Press, 2017.) Alexander’s poems appear in a variety of anthologies and in journals such as The American Journal of Poetry, Canary, The Common, Cumberland River Review, Denver Quarterly, The Goose, Hamilton Stone Review, One, Pangyrus, Pif, Ruminate, The Seattle Review of Books, Southern Humanities Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Sweet Tree Review, Terrain.org and Third Wednesday. Additional work is forthcoming in Delmarva Review, Free State Review and Raintown Review.