Poetry on Winter Grounds: Part I
Note from Professor Kiki Petrosino, Director of Creative Writing in University of Virginia's College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
As the chill of winter lifts (slowly, slowly) from the edge of the Blue Ridge, the Creative Writing Program offers this glimmering handful of poems to light our shared path to springtime. These works, each penned by a Third Year poet in UVA's Master of Fine Arts Program, anticipate the arrival of St. Valentine by marking moments of intimate awareness. In these poems, observation—the poet’s multi-faceted, multi-sensory gem—is made all the sharper by emotion, ecstatically felt. Together, we witness how snow “redraws the streets” leading to a lover’s door; we recall the “blue-/gold sheen of trees” in a far-off valley; we track the “starlings / in glitchy murmuration” above a surreal, cinematic landscape. These are exciting poems, which—much like the season—hum with energy and delight.
-p. hodges adams
wishing for a month of sundays, that jump
uncompleted, little breath
before the singing,
i live toward him. snow redraws the streets,
narrower now. six days of the week
i wake and wonder, what
light, what color—
the world is colder than a bird expects.
all day i wait and fail to make a nest.
and sunday comes, and in
her scarlet best—
one month of bright red all i want is
warm the door i open is a dawn
my fingers shake when i
At the edge of the Willamette,
we ply the water with stones, bend low
to pick rocks and skip them across the river.
Picture three silhouettes against the sun
hovering beyond the oaks on the opposite shore,
three bodies in bas relief, the background a blue-
gold sheen of trees and sky doubled on the water.
We are ankle deep in laughter. We are touching
the moment the way the current polished these
stones—noticing, lifting, letting it go. O to pocket
the ease of our bodies bowing side-by-side,
to collect the light and halos of water,
to refract the waves of our voices to where
we will be after this leaving. In the early darkness
of winter, when we are in rooms, alone,
may we still hear the footfalls of these stones,
may we still ask, Have I known any word but love?
Trinity’s Ode to Neo
Praise god I say and mean the bullets clattering to the ground.
Your hand pressed against the rotted oak. Your mouth’s mainframe, the stillness
which opens into spiral moon, chlorine drip of sky, not sky—
votive that lights and lights again. I chew the wires. I know how it feels
to be an artificial blaze. As promised, every red pill sloughs off
my concealer. They taste like Ricola cough drops but I can still see you,
dancing to your doom metal. Rock is dead say the 90s already behind us.
So I wear your slim sunglasses. I fill the fields with crows. On loop,
our new life: blue hills, bath-water, the asphalt fluxing back
to crude oil. I want to see. I want to know what’s underneath
your day’s dirty plastic bags, asthmatic blink in the empty streets, starlings
in glitchy murmuration. At home, you chop every pearl onion
just right. You rewire the boombox, polish the rotted mirror.
So I’m braver, now. No more zeroes and ones. I make an ugly face
just to see if my smile is real.
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