Review by Christina Cook
the dream and the dream you spoke
By Maureen Alsop
inSPIREd Poetry Series, Spire Press, Inc.
Link to purchase
The sea was not an accident
but a silk red dahlia hidden
in the curio-cabinet, a dusty
boutonniere which lurked under a shrunken
ship inside a bottle.When T. said he loved me
every teacup in the house grew
stained and suffered a chip, the asphalt
rippled like some kind of water. It lashed
at the hedges.
The strawberry sun vacillated between the noon
smoke of paper mill towers and the blanched
horizon of a midnight farm. Joshua,grey, variant grey, your eyes-one
plumbago & peacock plume the other
. . . I recognized
a deep gorge and a swirl of green
among familiar rocks. Laterthat night, my death
filled me. It was unbearably large
like a silk blouse torn
sheer into space. In sleep
I ripened as a bruise
among the lifting rushes of water
or drowned between blades of grass
on the upper hills, not
alive, but animated, like the last
whisper of sand over granite
I french press jasmine tea. Pour
two cups. Seat him
in the drover’s chair. I,at the hearth. It is summer,
no fire, no wind. But the scent
of rain impending. I light
four candles into a terracotta urn.
The desk fades, the roof wearies. Octavio
passes through me like dusk going under. I offer him
a cotton blanket and a corner to lie in.
Candles flutter. Innumerable stars break loose.Our conversation is a long gazingat the border as the border
itself dissolves. Languagealters the silk curtains over the windows. The room
flits-dappled & shining. His textpeppers my mind.
Octavio demands now some symbol of soldiers,
but I lean into my britches, close my eyes
and wish for a metallic fire. . . or a stretched
pool of rain-water steaming into sunlight. . .
Will I whistle you? Sink
my breastbone into you? Are you a lost Aztlan diety? Or
the swooping soundof ash.
Christina Cook is a poet and translator and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of journals including, most recently, Prairie Schooner, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Sojourn: A Journal of the Arts. Her manuscript, Out of the Blue, was shortlisted for the 2006 Dorset Prize, and she was a finalist for the 2007 Willis Barnestone Translation Prize. Christina holds an MFA from Vermont College and an MA in English and American Literature from the University of Cincinnati. She is a poetry editor for Inertia Magazine.