The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Maureen Alsop’s “Mantic”


Notes From the Blue Terrace

The pink lungs of a mule strain toward shade, his
yellowed lips saliva slick. The gardener wanders
late into the hills, unclothed in delirium. The nub
of his work thickens into bloom. He spends the day
threshing thrashing thatching until
the weight of a painted magpie
steadies him. One arm of the constellation
is a wing glazed with heat— a perfectly
beautiful waste of talent. Along the riverbank I water
my horse. The tin-rain-slosh shimmers
down her flank. The gardener stops and asks me:

What is it to die like this? He opens

his palm. He sees nothing in me astonished
by his offering. I am in the place he would not
circle—a lovely drop in his voice,
the makeshift sound of a tanager in the backyard
of a monastery. The gardener turns in shadow
to retrieve a blue trace of awkwardness. The sun
here is also crazed.

This selection comes from Maureen Alsop’s book of poetry Mantic, available from Augury Books. Purchase your copy here!

Maureen Alsop, Ph.D. is the author of several poetry collections including Appartion Wren, Mantic, Later, Knives & Trees, and Mirror Inside Coffin (forthcoming).

Marika von Zellen has a BA in English and Creative Writing from Cornell College (no, not the one in Ithaca). She’s had poetry and fiction published in Open Field, Temporary Infinity, The Grin City Monthly, and the anthology Rock & Roll Saved My Soul. As an Editorial Assistant for Sundress, she’s copy-edited the book Picture Dictionary (2014); as a freelance editor she copy-edited the photography book Face It (2013). In the summer of 2012, she attended the Grin City Collective Artist Residency in Iowa. Besides writing, she enjoys theoretical physics, playing piano, ghost-hunting, climbing trees, and drinking good Czech beer. She’s also a scholar of Lewis Carroll.


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