Tuesday, March 6, 2012


artwork: ralph murre

From all that haunts us
by Alice D’Alessio

I retreat, drawing close
the green walls of my world.
A chorus of birdsongs mutes

for these brief moments, the sirens of unholy wars.
At the top of the meadow, nestled
among the birdsfoot violets

and early grasses too short for cover
a freckled newborn, legs neatly tucked,
pretends to be invisible.

Only the twitching of a moist nose
gives it away. I tiptoe on, unwilling
to contemplate its small, doomed life.

Isn’t there a place where the deer can be safe?
says my grandson, crying,
when he learns about hunters. I turn
his question over as I turn the parchment skull

of the scavenged hawk,
puzzling for answers. Oh, let me slip
into my burrow, blind and dumb. Safe

is not a word that we can teach
to four year olds any more. Only
this moment, this sunshine, this fawn.

~ first published in Albatross Magazine