fragment 4:14-15
            …still the air, what rusty trill unsettles
from the tree?
I am listening for the direction of your next call.
                                    My whole body devout…
…the river’s water is a glass of sky rounding the bend.
I know you are the shy bird reluctant to sight. I know
your sounding sifts through my emptied branches…
                              …furtive beating, mine, echoes
             the kingfisher’s pitched flight.
fragment 1:03-4
          …the wind swept over the waters in the body of a heron.
All was quiet but for the wing’s beat,
                                            like breath, each lift and cast.
This was the first moment, devotion born on my tongue….
I was of one body, the water, and it was separate from yours.
In the space between us,
                                            my first prayer, my longing song.
How eerie the sound that rose to fill the world, all heartbroken,
all amatory.
                        All my life I’ve only wanted you back in my body…
fragment 15:05-7
…if you could see the flight made word, swallows,
all beat and lead and bank, their devout bodies
spelling the air, what speech, what tongue?…
Grace, like a knife cutting God’s voice into you,
cutting the sky with swift shapes…
I stand. Pain and love the same
                                    cerulean blue above me…
fragment 24:01
I heard you speak in the language of your people
                  …like water from the sky
inside my body the apple orchard shook awake
               …opened its branches to you, bright blaze, oriole.
                                 …like blossoms, harbinger of fruit…
               …the kindle of your song.


Karla Van Vliet

Karla Van Vliet is a poet, artist and Integrative Dreamwork analyst. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Poet Lore, Blue Heron Review, The Tishman Review, and Found Poetry Review. Her most recent book From the Book of Remembrance (Shanti Arts, 2015) is a collection of poems and paintings. The River From My Mouth, her first book of poems, is being reissued by Shanti Arts this coming year. She is the co-founder and editor of deLuge, a literary and arts journal and is the administrator of the New England Young Writers’ Conference at Bread Loaf, Middlebury College.

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