Four Poems by Anna B. Sutton

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low moon casts the world in brushstroke—
cleaves the distance carved by slow melt,

so i could reach out and touch the craggy
slide of my opposite shore. or so it seems.

contained: a sculpted wreck, snow pelt, the muffled
step of a bull moose, antler of hot breath escaping

the forest of its mouth. nearby, a husband and wife
clasp hands in my dusk. the black planets of a harp’s

eyes watch from my water. these creatures are
mostly night—begging at the moon, close enough

to kiss. they cut channels in each other—gathering
and releasing the silt of their terrains. this is how

they find their language—whisper of current
against my slope of smooth, wet shale.




what come wing
drop branch
to snow we listen
close we fast
our slow we
move we quiet no
scrape no claw on
ice we pack
what fire break
mantle what
of tree our
wound a wing
open in sun
we tongue
the bone want
marrow get
snow we fight
what furnace
of teeth our tangle
of hide we snarl
blood wing
what sun gone
blood song done



Aubade for Polar Night

on the third day we lose daylight

storm swallows an ephemeral sun
and seals our doors with snowdrift

if this is how we die i’ll take it

yesterday the snowpack laid me flat
along our piece of shore

showed us both the hungry harp

searching for a wounded bird
not the pair of us not our laughter

it’s dangerous this world we chose

to build a home to carry home
wolves take up the woods around us

this isn’t metaphor i’m speaking plain

we have nothing but night today
even the tide has tucked itself in

we’re bound and allowed to return



Fjord (Reprise)

Who owns the ice
I cliff this tide
The mother of land-
scape is violence
My father, slide




Anna B. SuttonAnna B. Sutton received her MFA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a James Merrill Fellowship from Vermont Studio Center. She’s worked for numerous literary organizations, including Tennessee Humanities, Lookout Books, and John F. Blair, Publisher. Her poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Copper Nickel, Third Coast, Radar, Booth, and Los Angeles Review, among other publications. 

Header photo by Tatyana Vic, courtesy Shutterstock. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.