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 the author of two collections of poems, From the Book of Remembrance andThe River From My Mouth.  She is an Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize finalist, and a two-time Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. Her poems have appeared in Acumen,Poet Lore, The Tishman Review, Green Mountains Review, Crannog Magazine and others.  Her chapbook Fragments: From the Lost Book of the Bird Spirit is forthcoming from Folded Word. Karla is a co-founder and editor of deLuge Journal. She is an Integrative Dreamwork analyst, artist and administrator of the New England Young Writers' Conference at Bread Loaf, Middlebury College. Karla lives in Bristol, Vermont. 

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