The opening title poem of Allison Adair’s collection The Clearing transforms a recognizable fairy tale into a grim story of a man who may be a “prince or woodcutter or brother, now musty with beard,” all familiar tropes of the genre, and who collects teeth that the girl in the story has dropped instead of breadcrumbs.
Driving Past Our Marriage House
I’m glad you can’t see how close the wisteria
is creeping under the sill of our old second story
bedroom window—you’d been so vigilant
I saw The Philadelphia Story for the first time on a Saturday in midsummer. A friend had recommended it to me, had described his favorite scene from the film in terms I may have misinterpreted.
As the punctuated surface reflects the world she breathes,
her glance flitting from stippled lake to scribbled page,
all day the writer inside writes to the same hypnotic air—
appeared from nowhere beside the others,
wrought iron, thick as a quarter.
Seven numbers engraved on its head, some inscrutable.
In the eighties I failed to learn fractions. I was frequently lonely. I stood in right field and wore a baseball glove on my head.
Frank found Mason striding back and forth across the sidewalk, likely to keep warm.
In the woods behind the house
I built a tiny city from sticks
and rolled matchbox cars down
When Miranda walks in late with her red hair dripping, Miles doesn’t turn. He stays at the window watching a damp delivery man carry cases of Bud Light to the 7-Eleven across the street. “Hi,” Miranda says. Miles doesn’t tell her that she’s late. He doesn’t move to...