Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Tuesday poem #426 : Natalie Rice : from How the Bones Listen




There is no stopping
this kind of devotion.

A bar-tailed godwit just flew
12,000km without stopping to rest.

In the middle of a storm,
I open my mouth for water.

How do the sun and stars
look to a bird’s eyes?

What are the spells
to ward off longing?



Thank you for drinking
the medicinal bitters:

dried angelica,
dandelion root, and ginger.

This poem doesn’t follow
the recipe.

I pat the back of your heart.
This must be where the spirit enters.

Early morning, a spider crawls out
of Rumi’s ghazals.



What are lungs, but sacs to carry
a risk of drowning.

With water wrung out,
coat pockets are deep enough

to hold a face or a myth.
Meanwhile, a woman jumps

into the river, becomes a siren
on the rocks. I am dancing,

wearing songs like different coats,
a tassel dangles at the end of every nerve.



These wings are a soft blow.
How we speak to one another

is smooth and rubbed.
Sometimes, I weep while speaking.

A stone
holds a mayfly fossil.

Everything I’ve ever pined for is here:
watermark of abdomen, stamp of carbon. 

When I die, will anyone notice
my tiny spirit?



Natalie Rice has been published by Gaspereau Press/Devil's Whim Chapbook Series as well as in several Canadian literary magazines such as: The Dalhousie Review, Event Magazine, The Malahat Review, Contemporary Verse 2, and Lake: A Journal of Arts and Environment. She is currently in the MFA program at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan. She lives in Kelowna, British Columbia. 

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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