Alison Shafferl


       for Pat

Long whine of why to fall, edge of call—stay with me—stay with me, you
hope-earned heat.

Oh holy holy holy
       coals broke open on wet old ash—cold, close astronomy—ask me
               what I know—only smoke—only smoke...

Ah purity purity purity
       the thin birch birthed in ash and earth—this little, worthy wood
               written in upturned dirt—ask again—ask again...

And sweetly sweetly sweetly
       if the green canopy gleams to eat light—leaves like teeth—retreat to
               the past-peaked sun's reply—repeat—like fire, but higher—
                       but higher...

Alison Shaffer lives in Pittsburgh with her imaginary cat and pet refrigerator. Her work has been published in The God Particle, Not Just Air, and Ink Pot Magazine, and her chapbook, The Rosary Poems, is available through

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