Author Archives: ailsa_steinert

Selected from Long Night’s Moon, in my forthcoming book, American Moons

Alley Song Old window full of sky and the back of houses – angular bays, roof slates that nudge their edges down to sunripe bricks – recalls the ragman’s cry, his wagon gathering remnants over cobblestones tamped down by cold … Continue reading

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Groundswell Wiliness disguised you, wanderer. The tree roots spread wide and deep as branches grow above this house. Seclusion formed the rooftree. The rooms we added around that tree, field of our being littered by sediment, bones, secrets rooted like … Continue reading

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Long Nights Moon

Christmas 2015 A ladder of cloud steps up the valley casting linear shadows on a bronze afternoon. Still pale, a full moon follows. Sparrows in flock descending the oak in a shower of chittering, rinse off the last autumn lint. … Continue reading

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Regarding Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2015 I forage the shallows, edges tiled in lily pads where small frogs startle into air, my feet content with mud and grass. Water, silt stained, cool. A long slow span lifts to … Continue reading

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Swallowtails

Here they are, certain as planets, two lemon, one copper on a spiked branch of mock orange. Wings tilt, citrus light through leaded glass, painted eye smooth. Soul’s laughter long away returned. The scent of wind spins a summer hour … Continue reading

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Sea Ravens

Small cloud shadows open the sea, translucent dark – midtide, cormorants ride off the breakwater on the ribs of waves to dive for stars. Down through watered silk they thread to kelp and crab – wings wound, they drop where … Continue reading

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Paths

Warm boxwood, gravel raked acquiescent, the fountain’s courtesy evoke old contradiction – sky drifts weightless over an English lawn, and you know the tree will explode in happiness, the fields riot in the heat. Black hair awry, high color, the … Continue reading

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Talisman

Spread like altar linen to rough dry in the sun, five egrets on a scarlet bush, black eyes aware, pause together. Bearing treasure, one by one they lift, strong hold, drift towards the sea. Necks folded, the same birds wait … Continue reading

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The White Horse

Grace Notes Starlings billow over the bridge, a black sail catching wind – tension holds, edges flicker. Milkweed tufts burst from pods, fasten on grass and sleeve. Seeds float silver. Extravagant, the birch spills coin. Two children pelt across a … Continue reading

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Remembering Upriver

Noli timere – Seamus Heaney Around the bend the river widens, weighted with sun and drying grass. I turn the canoe past a bush of deadly nightshade, purple splashed gold. Crickets wind their gears above the waning heatbugs. September, like … Continue reading

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