Joan Colby

by Joan Colby

Improve the darkness. Scatter it with stars, the way a dream permits hyperbole.
The way a diary recommends the ordinary, the priest’s devotions, the daughter’s petition.

Let spring spread its green tablecloth with plenty. The world’s a picnic.
A vixen cries from the wood. A woman Picks up the telephone and hesitates.

Look at the book of pictures the child recollects. Kate Greenaway petticoats.
A tiger with a purple umbrella. So much of memory is snapshot,

Mouse-trap, flash. Eyes glowing red as a werewolf’s. Misapprehensions.
Prove me wrong, says God in the preamble To prayer.

The wind kneels on the prairie where the redwings have returned.
A girl, dazed with light, suspends the morning in a sheet of blossom.

Far away, snows melt and skid from the mountain, propelling the creeks into jocularity.
Whitewater revels. Tragedy of the petrified forest. The stoic enjoys nothing.

A hawk on a high branch watches a flock of small birds alleluia noontide.
Tense with hunger like a siren. Smoke circles into a question-mark.

Behold the houses of the rich and the poor. How a roof means salvation, a floor
recognition, a bed repose. The old man on the porch waiting for cars to pass.

The travelers with the maps and expectations of the young. He remembers
the spotted horses, the foothills, the jack pines, the grey jays quarreling,

the Yellowstone River’s abrupt exclamation as the earth falls away.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 2.

Joan ColbyJoan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book and her newest books from FutureCycle Press, Dead Horses and Selected Poems. Selected Poems” received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize. A chapbook “Bittersweet” is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press in 2014.

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