Woman Poet Series, #30

“What can you believe in?”

            – Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaasen


After midnight a dog’s far-off bark, the skid

of wheels across damp pavement are sounds

recalling silence.  Wine on the porch.  The space

between our bodies is the space between our mouths,

the circle of light that a single bulb throws and

blackness stretching beyond it.  All day the news

of war and starvation:  you burn the low fever

of duct-tape and posters:  Please George Bush, don’t

answer terror with terror.  What can you believe in?


Here, the night seems to reach out for

nothing, plants on the rail unfurling their green,

wet sheen of rain still slick with each bead and

fingers of vines, blind with their growing, feeling

the way toward heat.  They don’t need an answer.  Or rather

their answer’s the rumble of thunder, the wonder

of clouds that wander like mammals, heavy with moisture

carried like pails to the blistering tongues

of the thirsty.  Your wine.  I watch


you angle the glass to your lips, quiet yard close,

a warmth on our shoulders, gentle connection of

tree to its shadow, rustle of wind through the leaves

to my hand in your hair.  Come closer.  Let me whisper

my love of your fervor, my heartfelt respect for your verdure

that multiplies air.  Yes, I believe in the action of peace,

split-second leaps between synapse and speech,

sky lighting up, hear-lightning white, the open and close

of that moment of seeing, that clarity.


Alison Pick, from Question & Answer

2 thoughts on “Woman Poet Series, #30

  1. Hi! I’m still trying to catch up:) I love this. Of course, I love all the articles, too (I’ve learned so much), but I get extra excited when you post poems.

    The form here is amazing. People tend to think prose poems are whatever emotions they can blob down on paper. But true professionalism, like we see here, has the form, the music, and the emotion. What beautiful lines and sound. What a powerful theme. The whole package deal is here. Thank you!!

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