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Kristin Macintyre


        “At this hour the heart is almost mine”—William Wordsworth

If the day shows itself
        everywhere, all sides desperate
undressed; if it simple

                varnished with light; if light
a creature baffled; if the body
        rivered with blood to stave the quiet;

if a song unknown
                    thaws the valley; if &
if it echoes tomorrow & if

        my body perched here like a butterfly
on a rose—full bloom; if the rose
                    doesn’t move at all, doesn’t

even feel it; if the butterfly’s wing
                    all skeleton & sail; if it piped
with blood; if cirque assembled;

                    if moon; if molecules
hum ‘round the body, tremble
        & grandeur still knocking; if

my voice goes polished
                    through the hills; if it gleams
youthful despite; if the changeful

        earth in need of companion
& my organed body
                                    hungers back.


Then moon beckons
            sun, the iris—every circle
holds time, deep; then

                    you ever & appear;
then the hour will suffice;
            then wonderment; then milkweed;

then heart sewn whole inside
                                        chrysalis; then wingspan;
then the ocean never shores; then

no edge & I must
            sorrow it; then a name—
spined & frail—glints

        like an empty lighthouse, vacant
shine; then I shelter you
                        no matter the vaulted sky; then horizon

holds like bathwater; then despair
                         a human lit within; then I want
the body, its soft bend &

                    asking; then mine here
        ruined & aglow.


If the valley’s mist still
            curling in my lungs; if too
the wren; if air a small

            instrument of wonder;
if the skull a cavern laden
                    with atoms & bulbs

of light; if always room
                    for the empire, its jewelry;
if mystery trinket dredged

                            up from the ocean;
if it appears ready-shined, a dimension
        begging welcome; if

something lurks deep within
            the well, circles there then stills;
if I lower myself down,

                    see the water plain
against the stone; if it looks
                    back, no eyes; if I sorry

the bones; if the ventricles of the soul
                        wide enough to crouch within; if
the chambers plenty & more

                        & if the animal—
intricate fawn or sky—
        lies down on the forest’s floor

simple magic seldoms
                        the knowing, slows
the pulse.


Then birth in the corn field,
                        no vantage point save the heart
its mezzanine; then ever

                        & before; then the newborn
plum & flesh; a wet leaf
            clutches another; then miniature

imagination unfurl the sky;
                        then from the dark lush, the cradle
born; then logic the bud—

                          its trumpet & solitude—
dismantled in the sweet
        wind; then slow & deliberate; then I

carry on; then—inhabited
            by one’s own ghost—the bones haunt

            then desire mangled inside
                                the body like lightning
run through ocean

            or a crown of hatchlings
in the church spire;
            then the bell pines & the sky may. 


If the morning always comes
                                    fearless gaunt; if the sky
starved flamingo & citrus;

                        if the lake true reflects
the flame; if I dream
            the distance between, cascade

upward into pools of sunset;
                        if I heaven a floodplain; if
forgetting best; if time

            a thing to be reascended; if we—
travelling toward who
            knows what—our bodies hung

like ripening fruit—sun-spotted
            & dappled unthinking; if my eye
the size of a thick cherry

            miscarries the seed; if the savage
air allows; if I uncertain enshrine you
                    like wild garlic hung the wall

for looking; if I stay here perhaps,
                    perhaps, hallelujah everything
for all the dormant years

            of the universe have come
to rest in the shallows
                                                of my mind.


                                            (In the deep,

do I bend concave like a palm
                    cupped for a baby bird—
little chick fastened

                    with wings? Is my heart
a glade for constellation,
            red-womb nursery

for the sky? Am I vicious
                    blooming inward? Sweet pith
& rind? Will my body—

                    ancient root &
vale—home another?
            Will there be no returning?

Do I remember
                        you? Our sleeping spines
hardened ampersands

            in the night? Is the sun
inside me? How
                          does the light fabric itself?

Is the lush of summer
        laden too in winter’s sleeping?
& do I—little solitude,

        stranger coming home—find
myself immensely here,
                        though the deep doesn’t answer

but is always asking.)

Kristin Macintyre 
holds an MFA from Colorado State University. Her work has been published in, or is forthcoming from, Mud Season Review, Sugar House Review, Ruminate, and elsewhere. She is a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee and serves as an associate editor at Colorado Review. When she is not writing, she teaches freshman composition and drinks coffee in her small garden.