All the oaths we take and make and utter: three poems by Amy Fleury

At Twenty-Eight

It seems I get by on more luck than sense,
not the kind brought on by knuckle to wood,
breath on dice, or pennies found in the mud.
I shimmy and slip by on pure fool chance.
At turns charmed and cursed, a girl knows romance
as coffee, red wine, and books; solitude
she counts as daylight virtue and muted
evenings, the inventory of absence.
But this is no sorry spinster story,
just the way days string together a life.
Sometimes I eat soup right out of the pan.
Sometimes I don’t care if I will marry.
I dance in my kitchen on Friday nights,
singing like only a lucky girl can.


The Progress of Night

In the late elegiac light, insects
chide the frail contraption of the sky,
its faulty system of pulleys and wires.

Piteous stars circuit the stripped gears
of galaxy as crickets keep grinding
out twilight’s tinny, dwindling music.

Again that pale immigrant blunders in
to watch over the progress of night,
to observe the grim magics we practice,

all the oaths we take and make and utter.
What comfort can we offer another
traveler under this same unsteady scaffold?

We’ll find no charm against calamity.
Though the dark architecture of the heart
is buttressed by sternum, girded by ribs,

we build our lives from its very trembling.


First Morel

Up from wood rot,
wrinkling up from duff
and homely damps,
spore-born and cauled
like a meager seer,
it pushes aside earth
to make a small place
from decay. Bashful,
it brings honeycombed
news from below
of the coming plenty
and everything rising.
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All the oaths we take and make and utter: three poems by Amy Fleury

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