Poem of the Week | April 21, 2010

For the next three weeks, we celebrate the arrival of our Editor’s Prize issue with poems from 33.1: Uncharted.  First up is “Into your pocket,” from the winner of our 2010 Editor’s Prize in Poetry, Christina Hutchins. Her work appears in Alehouse, Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Denver Quarterly, Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, Salmagundi, theSouthern Review and Women’s Review of Books. She has received two Barbara Deming Poetry Awards and won the Villa Montalvo Poetry Prize. Sixteen Rivers Press will publish The Stranger Dissolvesin early 2011. She is the Poet Laureate of Albany, California.

Of her winning poems, she says:  “These poems mostly came last spring and summer.  They represent an emergence from several years of compounded grief, though I suppose we never really emerge.  Loss is a teacher of the magnitudes of felt existence, and of how love, like the spring of a poem, releases a tangent to cycles of living and dying.”

Into your pocket

I have slid a bright morning before rain.
Tonight’s concerto is folded into thousands
of paper cranes; their wings were trees, rollicking
restless in the sun. Here’s a loose,
black thread pulled from my hem, tangled

to a tiny bundle between my fingers & thumb.
Kelp strands roiled back & forth in the surf
& deposited at high tide, the lost chains
of underseas are knotted, left along the beach.
Here is the warmth of my stride, left in a heap

on a rug beside the bed, blue jeans shed
in the shapes of my legs. I, too, have held
the shape of an absence. Quiet in the auditorium.
Who is that, laughing at the back of the room?
Here we are again, leaning against the door,

my way to you disclosed by two tongues
spending a sweet moment. The self I become
& the self you become are celestial bodies
entered into, one by another. Tender
release, a wet palate tasting its small

flourishes, my love is for taking along.
Like you, I swim a rising, astral surge.
If we are anchored by every spent moment,
the anchors are already rusted to dust
& these chains no heavier than light.