Alixa Doom




Snails

 

We see the white shells first, washed up like bare bones,

delicately scrolled as fresh roses,

among decaying hazelnuts and leaves. 

Snail shells in the woods, how could that be,

so far from water?  Then we see the darker shell,

earth colors twirled about a still center, it moves slightly. 

Kneeling into the grass we see the moist foot

undulate like jelly as a snail glides, silent as a stone

down a slender trail.  Then we see another, and another.

 

We carry three home and set them on lettuce leaves

in a glass salad bowl, sealing the top with light muslin

so they can breathe.  For days we watch them circle the bowl. 

Scalloped edges of lettuce leaves crinkle in dark trails
where they have been feeding.       

 

One morning my daughter calls to me, Mom, there's baby snails!  

Thirteen we count, pressing against the glass,

looking in at newborn dots of darkness,

their tendrils of travel almost invisible.

 

We observe them for seven days, marveling

at the multiplicity of births in our bowl

before we carry them out and release them back

into the flora of the woods, setting the lettuce leaf

with its minute passengers down among violets and fern. 

We let the adult snails go, too.  Holding each one

lightly between forefinger and thumb,

we place it back into the wilderness

it knows far better than we do, soft belly

measuring the earth, leaf by leaf, stem by stem,

and stone by stone of its huge journey.

 

 

Hawk

 

I look out through the window

of the pine cabin set on stilts

on the crest of the hill,

as if from the helm of a ship sailing

the treetops of an oceanic woods

with ravines in its wake.

A hawk flies in and settles on the sill

just a few feet away and looks in at me, 

its eyes glinting gold, totally Other and old,

with all the wisdom of the woods.

 

Woman at a writing table, pen in hand,

I was waiting for something other

to enter my page, where something wild

sometimes meets the domestic.

I would have called up this bird

if I could have—the stillness of its wildness

that has such an unworldly regard for me. 

I have longed for its arrival

at my window and in my writing.

 

The hawk's stillness shivers the air

like a haze of new leaves. 

Through the window I can see

the sun glare from the curved beak

of this bronzed being as it dips its head

for a long look at me, then leaves

as suddenly as it arrived.   I feel

my bones drop away when it lifts its wings,

folding sky into a feathery flapping.




Alixa Doom has published in numerous magazines, and some of her poems have also been published in anthologies. Her chapbook manuscript, Cedar Crossings, won the 2009 Blue Light Poetry Prize and was published in the spring of 2010.  She has completed two book manuscripts, one of poems, and one a memoir currently being reviewed by a publisher.  She moved in 2011 from her home of many years in the Minnesota River Valley to the Uptown area of South Minneapolis.










                                    

 

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