Ann Knox



Sun filters through the beech grove spackling

mossed ground, the woods are still. Listen.


Nothing, then a scritch as a squirrel hummocks

along a branch, from the draw, a woodpecker's thrum,


beneath my foot a twig clicks, a swish

as I brush a strand of hair from my face.


A dove exhales her quiet Coo.

and under the duff a mole whiffles the dark.


Snake, snail, grasshopper, we all take

and give, even sphagnum moss looses


green damp and the pale undersides of leaves

release vapor to air. Above this breathing


canopy, past cloud and contrail, past the edge

of hearing—the spinning planet's soundless roar.



I add another link to my paper-clip chain,

doodle a fish, a boat, a line of waves


and think of a flounder skimming the ocean floor

unaware of the edge of its world, the tide mounding,


or the shrimp boat foundering on the swells above.

I wonder if the fish notes a shift in the water's density,


or like me, pays no heed to air pressing my skin

as I wait in this back-wash for something to change.


Enough. I push aside papers and stand in the doorway

looking out — nothing but slate dark clouds.


Then a siren splits the lull, a quick in-breath,

a startle shudders my body. Hey, wake up.


This is where you live, things are happening out there,

wind rolls an empty cup across the road,


a yellow dog leans against its leash tugging

an old woman. All this matters, pay attention.

Ann Knox's two new chapbooks, Reading the Tao at Eighty and The Dark Edge, were recently published by Finishing Line Press and Pudding House Press, respectively. She also has two full-length collections: Stonecrop, winner of Washington Writers' Publishing House Prize and Staying Is Nowhere, winner of the SCOP/Writer's Center Prize.  Her poems have appeared in many literary journals, among them Poetry, Blue Line, The Green Mountains Review, Atlanta Review, and Alaska Quarterly.  A collection of short stories, Late Summer Break, was published by Papier Mache Press.  She received an MFA from Goddard-Warren Wilson and has taught workshops and writing seminars in many venues, including The Writer's Center in Washington, DC, Antioch Writing Workshop, Aspen Summer Conference, Johns Hopkins Writing Program, and Hagerstown Community College.  For eighteen years she served as editor of the Antietam Review.



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