A slow-throated swallow sings
in the birches, braced and bare.
Across the airfield, nervous hares
dart before the planes. In winter fog
the radio tower’s beacon sweeps the sky,
Cyclops swiveling on a barstool.
I eat a bright orange for my breakfast.
Mass of flesh and rind, it splits under my teeth
in one easy motion of surrender.
Along the road, early tulips,
their sunrise colors sullied
by passing trucks, bend their muddy heads.
The way I love these tulips
is not the same as desire,
at least I mean it to be civilized,
realistic. Isn’t every day a danger?
In the end, I don't expect
anything in this world to save me.
Listen to Elizabeth Simson read this poem:
Beneath the Forest
Darkness grinds stone underground,
a fine powder, and we walk above,
restless, feel the leaves shift, a little
stumble. Here and there, an untidy
heap of stump breeds mushrooms
in a sudsy foam, seems ready to
dissolve, but we walk on,
measure the swell of the river,
calculate drops in the snow line,
the temperament of weather.
Darkness goes on gnashing its
jaws, and when our dreams break,
sharp and uneven, we blink back,
push back into darkness and find
our mouths filled with sand, our
eyes awash in ashes.
Elizabeth Simson is the author of Sea Change (Finishing Line Press, 2005) and has had poetry appear in such publications as Atlanta Review and Comstock Review. In addition to editing the quarterly newsletter for the Oregon State Poetry Association, she serves on the board of directors for Gertrude Press. Visit her website at www.poemfish.com.