Your charisma precedes you, even in death—
grey feather webs of your wing still raised, a passing greeting to
the distant sky and the flies.
But your legs jut distressingly, like fishing hooks
twisted under tangled crosscurrent waves,
Coriolus of questionable intent and ambition.
Was it misunderstanding that dropped you on dirt packed flat?
Did you choose to leave the artifice of altitude? Plummeting
until the sinews holding together the words of your wings could not lift you above
the violent logic of flight.
Was gravity too much for your bones, shards?
Thin air, frictionless against remiges. You slipped
between the molecules in the high clouds.
from the English Honor’s Thesis, Clockwork, by Mary Rockwell ’11
As soon as Spring gave in, the air conditioning
was busted. So we rolled down the windows
of my ‘85 Mercedes—blew steam instead.
In Burlington summer launches without proof,
given the loss of watches, the freedom of a route
that leads straight out of town, directions
scrawled on a paper napkin on my lap.
Why plan anything when given such a nice list
of what to expect, how to expect where to go.
When your purpose is to be purposeless
you can expect Monday to be as free as Sunday,
certainly can expect moments to be as free
as soft‐serve ice cream, bought from the convenience
store for nothing but the price of my own name,
which the owner already knows by heart.
Everyone always seems to know things
I do not tell them, but surely gossip is not gossip
if it’s true: people only talk about what they want
to believe about the people who always leave.
My heart turns over those days too many times,
plays them like board games against my logical mind,
pays too much mind to another time, the past—
the type of light touch that lingers in a rush.
Nothing ever does stay long enough.
We never wanted to feel young then,
never think we are that young now.
Catching slimy snails in red plastic pails,
my brothers and sisters and I spent summers
on the far edge of Kennebunk beach.
We searched beneath the smooth underbellies
of salty rocks, scoured the shallow water, spinning
in tidal pools, much warmer than the ocean.
The busiest intersections and lanes revealed
where the crustaceans had traveled—I imagined
stuck in traffic on their routes to work, or visiting friends
who stayed in different neighborhoods down shore.
We stayed until the beach emptied, our pails full.
Never worried that there might be nothing
left in Maine one day. Nothing for us to find.
We carry our home, carry it on our backs.
When my sister takes my hand, I follow
along the curb of the littered sidewalk, jump
whenever the concrete breaks for pavement.
We dodge the shifting shadows of curious customers
who crash into crowded shops. Why would we go inside
when we trust shopkeepers must keep their custom
of selling porcelain ashtrays shaped like California,
plastic snow globes that storm winter weather
over the same sun‐soaked Bay we visited yesterday.
Chinatown is always Chinatown, no matter what
town we have found ourselves in. No matter how many
years and miles have worked their way between us.
This time, only we seem different—
tourists of our own home, the new home,
a home made apart from any familiar place.
To cross the sidewalk, we leap from stripe to stripe.
Children again, with no place to go.
Alice keeps the lyrics locked in a box under the bed
Hidden from view.
On their first night together,
He changed the shape of her flesh:
A love out of lust.
Then, face went pale: he mishandled the secret.
Alice feels small against the night
Torn photographs taped on the wall
A cigarette next to the bed.
Alice has never been to this world,
But now she knows it exists,
The others are cynics.
Exposed, the world rushes in:
Lights, sounds, and smoke.
But Alice does not know this is a borrowed world,
And now he wants it back.
So Alice must return to her old world,
If she can find it.
With woven veins
our teacher walked through the woods
and showed us nests and knots in maple trees
until the end of her life—
she lay down and died
in a clearing.
Four dirt paths there open
into a diamond of smooth-leaved clover
bordered by interlocked
My brother left
our highland house and yard,
moved to the city and up and up
the corporate ranks—
retired to the most
spacious flat in town.
A composer said once
that his favorite note was the rest
because in its duration
you could recall
all the others.
Together we roam across each other,
the curves and crevices which slip
always toward an emptiness.
the Buddha slept.
When they have hewn a lifetime
of sandstone in the crazing canyon wall,
the rapids return softly
to the magnetism of the sea.
from the English Honor’s Thesis, Stereoscopy, by Sophie Novack ’11
A look inside
your brain: a railway.
freight cars slow around
the bends, cargo too heavy
for your trains to carry.
Signals lost between stations,
tracks weakened, cars veering off course
with the weight of information.
Too much traffic.
What I say to you I know
will never reach its final destination
—my words will crash
into the skeletons of trains
that line and block the tunnels, words trapped
and suffocated in the debris of lost cargo.
Tomorrow you won’t recover
what I said or even who I am.
I think how you used to make believe
your mother’s mind ran more smoothly,
how my mother tries now
to push messages through yours
—it seems all our tracks must cross eventually.
I wait for your broken ones
to derail me.
you balance me
too close to leave
too far to stay
not enough to wind me up
not enough to unravel me
each time I want to go
you work your tricks
pull me back
go ahead and break me
so I can be done with you
Your absence leaves
an imprint of you, the same
in shape and sentiment,
altered though in reality.
Around me your specter looms,
a better version of you.
He leaves me to long
for you in flesh, to want
your body next to mine,
to wish I desired you
when you were here,
fought harder to keep you.
He tricks me—possessing
only the best of you,
that make me want to forget you,
blurring your details, making me
resurrect you in my life again.
You haunt me.
What pain can do
to memory, changing you
into something I’d be foolish to lose.
How loss can make a person