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Nancy Simpson's LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE, New and Selected Poems was published by Carolina Wren Press (N.C. Laureate Series, 2010.) She is the author of ACROSS WATER and NIGHT STUDENT, State Street Press, still available on WWW at Alibris and Books Again. Her poems have been published in Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review and other literary magazines. "Carolina Bluebirds" was published in THE POETS GUIDE TO THE BIRDS, Anhinga Press). "Grass" was reprinted in the 50th Anniversary Issue of Southern Poetry Review: DON'T LEAVE HUNGRY ( U.of Arkansas Press.) Seven poems were reprinted in the textbook, SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN POETRY,(McFarland.) Two poems were published in SOLO CAFE, Two more poems were published in SOLO NOVO."In the Nantahala Gorge" was published in Pisgah Review. "Studying Winter" was reprinted in Pirene's Fountain Anthology and "The Collection" in Collecting Life Anthology. Most recently, Southern Poetry Review Edited by James Smith, published "Our Great Depression," and The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. VII: NORTH CAROLINA,Edited by William Wright, reprinted "Leaving in the Dead of Winter."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kathryn Kirkpatrick - Three Poems from her book Unaccountable Westher

We're singing the praises of POET OF THE MONT,  Kathryn Kirkpatrick here above The Frost Line in this her birth month These three poems are from her book Unaccountable Weather, Press 53 2011.

From Unaccountable Weather (Press 53, 2011)
First published in Calyx

The Garden of Lost Breasts

At first they are lonely,
severed from the capable chest.
Without feet, without bodies to carry them,

they arrive on the backs of herons,
in the pouches of possums.
Because they have often fed others,

the animals refuse to eat them,
will not leave them in labs
on pathology slides.

Instead they bring them here
like racehorses put out to pasture.
Having done the work

of nurture and beauty, nothing
more is required of these breasts—
coffee or golden, ivory or pink,

they have all forgiven someone.
Now they lounge under willows
or sun themselves by the lake.

And here among so many others,
they soon forget the lover’s tongue,
the low-cut gown, the matching breast.

From Unaccountable Weather (Press 53, 2011)
First published in The South Carolina Review


Up from the massage table
I catch sight of myself
in the unavoidable mirror.

Afternoon light doesn’t blink.
Basic bald head. Bare pudendum.
Soft pile of belly and hips.

Once mirrors drew me like friends,
broke my gloomy moods
with a smile, eyes brighter

than I’d remembered. Now I’m sacra
to myself, a neutral suggestion,
transpersonal form. Stripped

to Neolithic goddess, I’m all
that’s behind all that will ever be,
prima mater, prima material,

impersonal as rain, kneaded
to dozens of shapes, except
that my chest is  scarred

which is what you’d expect
of a goddess in this 21st century.

From Unaccountable Weather (Press 53, 2011)
First published in Shenandoah

After the Cave Paintings

Why do I stand unmoved,
jaded as a tabloid, refusing
astonishment, not down on
my knees, but sober as stone—
surely 19th-century spelunkers,
pranksters, or WWII resistance
fighters passing hours in the belly
of the mountain made these
bison, these bearded horses.

But carbon dating brings me
to my senses. Whatever I can’t take
in—1,500 generations, 32,000 years
here’s human memory on the horns
of an ibex, our ancestors making it up
from scratch.
                       Is it all too near
to where I’ve been?  Birth & Death.
Back and forth across that stuttering
line, illness a long darkness with only
a lantern and my love’s strong
arm, the uneven, the unearthly
                  Stalactites make their own
sense of water and limestone
as I’m to make something wholly new
from the dripstone of another life.

Just as well we’re not as firmly
anchored as we think.
In the thinned air, the wavering light,
easier to find that other self,
that knows as the animal
knows, as the bears in these caves
once knew, the first scratches on stone
their marks, beyond light, standing
upright on the old riverbed, so that
daughters of Adam, sons of Eve,
took up what the bears laid down,
dark claw on limestone, and drew.

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