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08.23.06
Three Poems

Extinction

Each day an emerging
                                     Ring of rib, definition

Another pearl scimitar
Sheathed in fawn. The paradise of west is the sun

Always falling. Nothing’s as permanent as passing

Transience, the wing
                                    Whirred to light, the moon’s moth-dust 
Ghosting noon. Each blink a little 
                                                Not-seeing 

Warding off blindness, the gate
                        Of skin and lash swings

On its hinges.
How four billion wings must have

Charged the air. Body, ark
                                     Of extinguished generations, lost

Species, will a little more hunger let her see you
As a rack of rainbows?
                        Her last rib spoons each day’s

Fainter breath. Migrating air.

Sweet meat of the world
                                         Picked clean.










Marble Figure, Descending Panorama

It’s resisting
gravity that

wears, the hill
going down:
Weighted with rain, her

upturned hand pools
erosion, a ladle
dipping away cream.

The body
is equal measures

milk and stone, a small room

divided by string. The sky’s
acid what tongues 

her face to blur:
a quiver of
minute blades spilled and

feather-floating like the fractured
wings of insects also

freighting this air, twisting
in gleam sharp as broken
bottles embedded

in the city zoo’s walls.

She’s meant to stand
for something: revolution,
victory. Liberty

as open air. The rumbling

of starving animals calls out
as polished stone first did

to sun, that earlier regime

igniting her unveiling. How the sky
pocks with wounds
and voices, our abandon

remembered: how her face mutes
to perhaps, to the muscles’ tear
our bodies masked with
weightlessness, that illusion

descending. But then, love, didn’t
we always know damage

would carry such light?










Colony of Ice

We struck south to recall winter
as grace, sky no longer constellated

the permanent frost of a country’s 
baroque sadness, no longer a crystalline breath

purled to whitecaps’ lace, froth at the mouth
of the dog wandering the village the morning

that would end her, arrival our single shot
skidding her eyes to that turquoise glaze

heralding snow, rainforest and thorn desert
gnawed to one echo, a tiny listening

rippling the single sheet we kept unfolding,
the white stare of home.


Sandra Meek is the editor of Deep Travel: Contemporary American Poets Abroad (Ninebark 2007) and the author of five books of poems: An Ecology of Elsewhere (Persea 2016); Road Scatter (Persea 2012); Biogeography, winner of the Dorset Prize (Tupelo 2008); Burn (2005); and Nomadic Foundations, winner of the Peace Corps Writers Award in Poetry (2002). The recipient of a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and the 2015 Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, she has twice been awarded Georgia Author of the Year. Meek is a founding editor of Ninebark Press, director of the Georgia Poetry Circuit, poetry editor of the Phi Kappa Phi Forum, and Dana Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Writing at Berry College.