POETRY – 5 Poems by Lucy Burns



gesture     your hand as it floats
above me         scorched slowly, the sacrifice
of an idea                    the long term
transfer of emotion                  a skylark
skims the surface of a cloud


they sing only in flight grounded
the air echoes their silence
a meadow, a wheat field, a figure waiting
I drift toward you and then away             eddying


when leaves collect I measure the length
of our silences       mute   we circle one another
cradling the space between us
later we map angles


chart the distance from the sky
to ours heads       brush away tufts of grass
clear space for new territory       listen
again to larks               in flight
bright song against sky





not so close


this region of your body
hip edge and hollow
an echo of a place
we haven’t even
begun to see


let petal thought
arrange itself across
your face and find
words for the mixture
of sea salt and habit
that have formed


and in separation
what happens to the pair
of gulls?


as the rain refuses to fall
from overcast sky, I cup
the memory of you
in my hands


even damaged I recall
the collection of your thoughts
your eyes as they gazed
through me


I watch the sky unfold
catch the scattered
birds before dusk sets in


over this backlit evening





Peach Halves


I’ve dried you out
your body has become
a series of peach halves


you disappear at the end
of the sentence
I’ve deconstructed


the underpinnings
of our hesitancy to forgive
a prune and two cracked


lemon peels keep you
company in the kitchen
when you are restless


I hear wind from the window
whistle across your ridges—
a sing-song melody we


used to dance against
a knife and stale bread
withered fruit all tokens


of this intractable
currency of lies
you have spoken it all







blank space on a page


squeezes imagination      asks for forgiveness in advance


spells out clemency   before     words begin to clutter


each factory output   each mass produced idea   each one of us


trying to unearth


our carapace of a soul


rough surface   plank of pine    sand away the impurities


an idea wrought with anxiety blooms into a tulip       a clever notion


those full petals           fall to the damp earth


juniper, long grass, an elliptical brush of the wind     of the images we craft


parallel lines        a prism of lilac                     a drunk absence looming


before time elapses      and we become ordinary again   how to remove


the stains of rust         or an idea turned sour


an incomplete invasion                        a restless poem




not again


the curve of the leaf
mimics the curve


of your fingers tight
around my neck


the sky is blue, but
icy—it won’t hide me


I divide each moment
across myself




don’t milk sound
for sweets


don’t drag my body
over and over again


wait each tinge of pink wait
cloud wait sky wait water


wait the leafy foliage
that engulfs




I draw back exposed
nestle against the wall


if cut and shaved and broken
begins here then what


the deer less like scared cows
than curtains of damage


those lunging bodies




Lucy Burns recently completed an MFA in Poetry at the University of New Mexico where she served as the Associate Editor for Blue Mesa Review. She is currently an Associate Editor for Narrative Magazine.



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