Poems by Alicia Vandevorst

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How I Come to Know

by Alicia Vandevorst

From Canary Summer 2011

Alicia lives in the Yuba River Watershed.  The window above her writing place faces south, through an opening between Ponderosa Pines.

It is only once the truck lumbers down

and its squealing breaks the quiet of the ground

that steadies our house, that I know they took the trees.

I see the lacerated trunks and feel forth

with the palms of blind connection to find the welts

within the forest, the runny stumps, the ruptured space.

What that place held, tip to tip, root

to root, the combs of airs, transparently housed,

has been crossed out and the mute declaration

of scars, the annunciation of force, is left to drive

the future of that woodland. I am amazed

I did not feel them go.

In Orange

by Alicia Vandevorst

From Canary Spring 2011

I do not know how to grieve
what has not been lost completely,
only the slow dying of the breed
and the remote responsibility.
Too much cannot be archived.
The cave where she slept,
the white snow leopard, the condor
wings, the cresting back, long and slick,
of the humpback, the swift leap of dolphins
beside the ship, the gently-lined elephants
who caress, the lion mane, the roar, the howl,
the silverback gorilla’s quiet eyes,
the birds and the bees.

I cannot find the answer and circle
like a songbird who misses the light
of a faint, perfect guide; that remains so
perfect, out of sight in the orange,
stagnant maze. And they die
of exhaustion, the songbirds.
Our need for illuminated night
creates a vortex of star-birds
with throats ample and free, delivered
to music but they fall, their light bones
are small matted wastes in the city and the
absence of song is an assassination of peace.

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