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Edward Alan May 2020
Who tells the ivy, “Ascend the tall trees”?
a) Birds, for a cozier home in the boughs
b) Squirrels, who prefer some good footing for ease
c) Farmers, to clear off the ground for to plow

Do birds prefer maple or spruce for their homes?
a) Maple, whose leaves are like comfy green pillows
b) Spruce, for the needles groom feathers as combs
c) Birds take what they can, whether cacti or willows

Who built the wall between desert and marsh?
a) Sand, who feared water would turn it to mud
b) Water, who found frequent sandstorms too harsh
c) Delicate plains, fearing both drought and flood

Who piled sand into towering dunes?
a) The wind, who impresses soft trails in its wake
b) The long, tugging arms of the amorous moon
c) Sand did it alone, sans shovel, sans rake

Why does the moon still circle the earth?
a) To lure the seas to its pale, thirsty gulfs
b) It scans for a scar as the proof of its birth
c) To flirt with the love songs of clamorous wolves
Edward Alan Mar 2020
She lies above me, wed to bed,
and startles when the doorbell tolls,
alights afloor, and softly treads
on dewy toes with heightened soles
to quickly close the bedroom light
that theretofore had from her panes
spread forth into the haze of night
that long had fallen on the lanes.

Stepping back, I raise my stare
to see, should any creature stir,
but in her window, nothing's there—
not a cat, and no, not her,
just books and papers on her sills
all outlined by the street lamp's glow,
which emanates and softly spills
upon her walls from here below.

I call to her with no reply
before I call again and go
back to the door again to try
the bell, but I already know
that she will not allow me in,
so I descend the steps at last
and walk to where I had just been—
my unilluminated past.
Edward Alan Feb 2020
You pelted me with sleet
when snow was promised,
leaving marbles scattered
for slipping. A steady hand
held me, so I never fell.

I ground my dunnage and
crockery to tiny bits, sent
them down the frozen creek
to my new home, from one
barren maw to the next.

You throw heat that echoes
into halls green and bright,
like limes taken whole. Or
red light drenches our
blurred smiles, waxy skin.

I wrap my hand as a snake
around your neck, cutting
through damp dead grass,
hungry till the lush certain
spring dawns on us anew.
Edward Alan Nov 2019
I held the first few wisps
of you from weeks ago at
the bottom of shallow lungs,
now breathing daylong,
fugitive and furtive.

You pivoted reflexively,
found all faults through
water-sapped air, lucid
but flecked with dust in
spindles of limpid light.

I feel the wind thin and thicken
as it wavers, confused
from south to west, again,
again, cold then fresh.
I close the windows.

You're bottled now and warm
still, the longer I hold you
in my chest. I practiced
this as a child, when
I first dreamt about you.
Edward Alan Feb 2017
plodding down the slow hillside
chestnut roots have made the path perilous

I've walked along the high trail
over the bridgeless creeks of Middlesex

from the manmade ravine, and the spring
where my mother drove us

to fill up our water jugs
till the car trunk hung heavy

this hill has only one side
and the grass is always green


from around the low end
where the hill and lake diverge

sun in his face, I see Du Fu
climbing this track again

says he's looking for warm weather
bamboo forests all year round

I mention Chengdu, and he grins
if I should find Li Bai

might I say "Du Fu asked for you"
and sample his elixir
Edward Alan Feb 2017
we enter the forest
past Colliers Mills

as though it were a house
abandoned long before

each clearing, a new room
in a living mansion

the trunks of trees swell
and feel ancient

I sit up against one,
calling it my bedroom

I intend to stay forever—
we could be hermits


we wade in tall grass
bright young green

it smells fresh and warm
rises to our fingertips

when we emerge at last
on the path worn flat

we notice scores of ticks
climbing our legs,

brush them off in panic,
and never return
Edward Alan Jan 2015
I should write a villanelle right now,
without delay—no more ado will do—
I would, except I can’t remember how.

Indeed, my meter mastery would wow,
And always rhyming perfectly would woo—
I should write a villanelle right now.

I bet that I could even court a cow
With deft command of each and every moo—
I would, except I can’t remember how.

Soon, I’ll lose my grasp on “thee” and “thou,”
And I’ll be barely left with “me” and “you”—
I should write a villanelle right now.

But first, maybe I’ll try to find some chow.
I could make a hearty soup or stew—
I would, except I can’t remember how.

Before I storm the stage to take a bow,
Uncertain if I’ll get a cheer or boo,
I should write a villanelle right now—
I would, except I can’t remember how
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