Maureen Alsop

Scott Kahn


divination by means of clapping a single rose leaf between one’s hands


No visible evening falls.  Sweetness occurs from the first breath, immediate and familiar.  Snow west of the waterfront.  I am elsewhere.  Capable of missing the deer among the fir trees.  They roam aglow.  Wandering the imaginary body. O bright, bright elsewhere, how will you remember the missing?  I write toward the sand sifting clear into the mouth as the cactus wren in the town garden cull scorched thorns for seed, and thieves gather hair-dried nests. The mind at this level can be poked.  Pride capitulates to beauty. My pleas obverse.  Wild rose, I will go on all night beating sapphire into the sea.

Cledonomancy, Sleep In the Raven’s Throat

divination by means of chance remarks that are spoken without premeditation

Stitch by stitch in the shore’s seam I measured fog’s rotation.  Thick loaves of air rounded stone cliffs. Waves bit gulls in a loose crochet.  As you plucked a clear path of allegiance into your small environs, the lesser nighthawk foraged under a streetlamp.  Had you seen the faces of the holy?  Had you overthrown what lifted you?  For long hours I had been mending the black pages of water and the creases in the sand where you disappeared.  From my sleep in the raven’s throat I saw you walking in the sun.  I have forgotten the depth of the lake.  The liquor swill of reeds under your skin.

Turifumy of Butterfly Breathing

after Anne Siems


divination by means of reading smoke

The Empress wanders long lanes of night oak.  She looks up from the portrait, west, into the lowering lids of buttercup.  A brief rustle among magenta, the recurrence of sparrow, reminds her that there are factual relationships between ancestors.  Love, like medicine, winds through the thin arrows of her shoulders.  Her apocrypha was the lung’s desire for light.

Gold reached the back of the skull as steam.  It was the center where gut-larvae once began.  Millipedes nested in the chest’s cave among hawk swollen circles of flame; October’s spouse awoke under the rib prone wishes of bees.

Cephalomancy in which “you’ve devoured the source codes for thousands of species in your lifetime”

divination by study of the shape of the skull or head, especially of a donkey or goat

You tied your dark tree to the dense map of my inkwell. Prisoner of the beige sky, you watched late autumn sideways through cheekbone & skull—cleansing the shade in your head.

Though it took a long time to name you, I destroyed you.  Calling your death forth through dusk, as you dreamed your indecipherable dawn. Constant, you came, drawing up from the dunes bright baskets, primrose; your hum remains in moisture’s edge where hawk-moths drift like snow.

But now the oak is gone, and the uneven table from where I last wrote to you.  Isotype of loss is still loss. Innumerable stars are accidental. You have loved.  You have made mistakes. You would not see your father’s eyes nor confuse the whorl of lights in the driveway for his car’s movement. Faded. The small cinder flake, jaw line flex or guilt?

In the seven bells of my voice, verbs called out a hundred times giving faint hold upon the bolt of geese. There are strange theories of speech.  My hand healing the distance. Ash in the landscape folds you lovingly. As your sentence leaves the sky. My fingers shift, marking undulations.  Your eyes close.  Your body in time finds the new sun. Touches this green, you have acquired.  O, fortunate one.


divination by means of letters forming the name of a person

There is a wild heavy beast making tread in your clay heart. Illustrious rubber boottip singing: you are my red death. Radiant through window drapery.  Beetles circle the beak of a weakened eyas.  You salute the invention of surrender.  Impermeable circumstances do not waver!  Your guardian spars with the wooden boat.  Leak rot scribed into seven rectangular letters.  Maureen. Which doorway, which controlled passage will you keep?  Invisibility does not recognize your dead.  They are tactic.  Thus their love speaks munificence in your sleep.  Ship song of obligation.  The envy point.  Vanishment served straight up.

Maureen Alsop is the author of Apparition Wren (Main Street Rag) and several chapbooks, most recently Luminal Equation in the collection Narwhal (Cannibal Press, 2009), the dream and the dream you spoke (Spire Press), and 12 Greatest Hits (Pudding House, pending). Additional chapbooks include Nightingale Habit (Finishing Line Press) and Origin of Stone. Her recent poems have appeared various journals including AGNI, Blackbird, Action Yes, Pank, Typo and Kenyon Review. For more poems, see Maureen’s website.

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