Alexandria Peary

Call Number, Postcard, and Lava from Pompeii

An arrow-shaped poem rests on my desk in the year-long room
the arrow dries its wings like an insect
the arrow moves its airmail mouth
How it traveled underground on an overcast sky
saw a young tree lifting its root ball
like a suitcase                    over speed bumps of contrail
How it was like a room in the sky
with windows at ground level
a view of the shuffling clogs of pilgrims
How it landed in the cumulous up-do
of a giant woman who looked good wearing it
though she was unconscious of the arrow
with looks more Virginia Woolf than Clarice Lispector
Oh yeah? I yank out the day-glo yellow microphone
that I’ve let grow the whole time
in the courtyard upholstered in Midnight Green.


Private Writing Gallery

A single-stanza portrait,
a framed freewrite,
xerox of water lilies, the commas colored in,
a close-up of a detail in a poem,
the picture written
entirely with a ballpoint pen
found in a ruined villa,
these are like a list covering a wall
in a poem, shelves of short phrases.

A mosaic woman in a toga
in a Q & A, quill to her lips,
with the voice from the weedy volcano
from a courtyard with an empty fish pool
and a tree that produces for no one
for a thousand years or more
a small, unrecognizable fruit,
the branches and their sub-details

shadows across the wall in the next stanza.
A mural with a deep crack and underlined pond:
A youth is forever diving into the next world.
In a glass case with rusty forms of closure
and several framed phrases,
the sound of my footsteps as I turn away,
a photograph of a decrescendo.
This page left purposefully blank. On loan, elsewhere:
[                                                                                                    ]


Alexandria Peary is author of four books, including Control Bird Alt Delete, recipient of the 2013 Iowa Poetry Prize, with a fifth book on mindful writing to be published by Routledge in September. Her work has received the Joseph Langland Award from the Academy of American Poets and the Slope Editions Book Prize. Her poetry and creative nonfiction have recently appeared or are forthcoming in the Yale Review, North American Review, Gettysburg Review, Boston Review, Hotel Amerika, Volt, Denver Quarterly, and Bombay Gin amongst others.