Three Poems by Julie Lein

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Noted :: Knotted

                        The phonic image-
            bearer, sound-

            bringer: Persephone 
yet not her, per se— 

basket and weaver together 

gathered blooms from single 
roots, now pulled 
through gulf and glyph 
to earth and death 

groans scattered like grains 

I would follow that 
            billowing gown 
            run through 
                        ruins grown 
                                    to runes



W a n d e l n *

To wander * To transform the root:
Walking through plateaued Green River
grounds, tracing what that maker wrote
through sediment and canyon routes *
Walden carried on back, writing ever
to wander, to transform the roots
and echoes living in this land * Calf trots,
hoof caught in a bleached skull, over
ground: Tracings: What that maker wrote
names here * How antelope in rut
migrate and mount in October,
wander to transform their root
genetic script * Once DDT-wrapped
peregrines unfurl, recover
ground, retracing what that marker wrote
in songbird prey * From cliff-hung scrape, concrete
bridge, who can say what the falcon hears?
A wandering, transforming rotor-root *
Ground traces * All that these makers wrote.



Sister Bay Birches

—white, white hairpins
charcoal in our joints—

what though the wind be a lathe?

we are at the barre
and watch: we stretch
even so ourselves

and whisper, listen—
unlatch that leather grip—
this is when December starts
scratching out its waltz




Julie Lein earned her Ph.D. in creative writing and literature from the University of Utah, where she also served as a poetry editor for Quarterly West and currently works as a postdoctoral research fellow. Her poetry, fiction, and scholarship have appeared in The Antioch Review, Best New Poets 2011, 100 Word Story, Colorado Review, Phoebe, Modernism/modernity, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of the Larry Levis Poetry Prize.

Cow skull image courtesy Shutterstock. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.