Terri McCord


Arenal Volcano by Morgan

Tour of a Costa Rican Volcano We Can’t See

We burst into vapors
after walking the soaked trail.
We all surround
for the photo-op
but the fog is an eyelid
that closes and trembles
over a stunned blue ball.

The Poás crater pools
sky in silt as we drift
as ghosts through low clouds.
The water glistens, seems to speak
whenever space breaks and
sun pierces.

You are damp. We share
plastic garbage bags instead
of coats we forgot.
The crater’s lip is my lip
in view in a compact’s mirror
where my face has turned pure cerulean.

The water’s center is an inverted
blue blister. How much time
has this taken? Is the bus still here?
Are you ready?
I can wear fog well, disappear.


Renaming of Things

There is no this. It is all an illusion.
-Li-Young Lee

The distant, ice-covered world is no longer a true planet, according to a new definition of the term voted on by scientists today.
-National Geographic, April 24, 2006

Perhaps it lost
the ability to inspire—
one of nine muses reduced,
deduced to eight since
Pluto is no longer
a planet
so far out
but something dwarfed,
unswept debris in its orbit —
garbage for some dumpster diver.

Since 1930 it had been named.
It is no different.
We still are,
aren’t we?
Oui, you say, which makes no sense
to me, although it does.
After nineteen years
we seem same,
but are coupled and doubled
opposite detraction.
Are we fallen from grace, too
now that we are one?

The planets have lost a fellow
muse. Space has gained
the roving eye
of a profiled crow,
a spy, a spy, spy this,
a magpie that compiles, compiles
and I eyeball you too.

Mt. Lincoln

12th Anniversary on the Appalachian Trail
Hot Springs, North Carolina

This mountain seems to move
from within, to slide into itself
and out, snakelike
as we venture for a look
at a small hill-town from Lover’s Leap.
Our feet slip the thin trail
that seemed to round us gently higher
but now rises straight-up. We climb
rocks and roots as rungs.
We are what we remember.
This mountain undulates,
breathes like a lung,
inhales us toward a center.
I have been scared of air before
like now, as I re-see childhood tornadoes.
I brace myself
against your hand, push
the whorls
of your fingertips as if they are springs.
You stop three quarters up
as I press on,
counting each level shelf
I come to.
The air is rarefied; I have no breath.
This mountain is a funnel turned upside
down, waiting
for someone to speak.
In a leap second, I know what I want
in memory and return
the same way.

DSCN3009Terri McCord’s work has appeared in Seneca Review, Cortland Review, and Connecticut Review as well as other journals and anthologies. Finishing Line Press published a chapbook The Art and the Wait in 2008. The South Carolina Poetry Initiative chose her second chapbook In the Company of Animals for publication in fall, 2008. More information and poems are available at: Terri McCord’s website.

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