August, Blue Cow Pasture

by Maureen Alsop

A low moan in the ironwood
rose a year before she would touch
the stubble of his face to wipe
a fleck of salt off his chin.

Saturday, five days after
his accident. A rattle of heat
from the fan all afternoon. No one
speaking. In the low pasture, cows

mottle the ryegrass, a dim voice
rises forgive me
when I abandon you. In the dry creek

rests a dove’s loose clutch
among twigs. A phonograph’s
Big Band ticks a clumsy sax
solo, his listening habit

stops. She places the silver needle
into another vein. Music’s false start
as if backward in time—sweet
delirium soaks his brow—gold leaf,

a jasmine breeze settles.

A wide strip of garden, two miles
from the roadside, she sinks
down into the soil
digging, a tiny—abstract
as a spit of amnesia in her eye
his strange stuttering speech—strangled,

but familiar. A wide fill of sun
exits the room.


Maureen Alsop, Ph.D. is the author of four full collections of poetry including Mantic, Apparition Wren, Mirror Inside Coffin (forthcoming), and Later, Knives & Trees (forthcoming) Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines including Kenyon Review, Tampa Review, New Delta Review, Typo, and Barrow Street. Her awards include: Tony Quagliano International Poetry Prize, Harpur Palate’s Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry and The Bitter Oleander’s Frances Locke Memorial Poetry Award. She edits poetry for Poemeleon, and teaches locally through the Inlandia Institute and online with the Rooster Moans poetry cooperative.

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