Poetry by Lucy Burns: “let petal thought/arrange itself”

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

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