The Spirit of Change | Alison Stone

Air Space

When my neighbor’s tree
crashes through the roof, 
allowing storm water to flood
our kitchen, his insurance company
has to pay nothing. Though
the tree’s roots tunnel through his soil
and the snapped trunk stands
on his grass, the part that broke
had leaned across the property line.
I’m a therapist—I understand
where we end up matters 
more than where we start.
A friend of mine married
her one-night stand. Another
wed her “soul mate,” lawyers
got the house in the divorce.
Today on my couch a woman,
incest survivor, squelched wife,
tells me she feels in her body
strength to leave. Her thin arms
lift as she speaks, fingers
reaching toward the light.
from Dazzle (Jacar Press, 2017)

Dancing

This is our new dance, my mother calls out, 
suddenly unable to walk, as my father 
half drags, half carries her down the hall. 

       Once she dressed for dancing in big 
       earrings, clingy gowns. I watched her twist 
       her thick hair, then paint
     
       her suddenly mysterious face.
       My father watched the clock.
       Fumbling with buttons, she tried
      
       to sooth him, Soon, I promise. Soon.
       He grumped out to wait
       in the car. I helped her raise 
      
       her zipper, clasp a strand 
       of pearls. Her hands 
       shook when he honked the horn.

Days of couch to bathroom, chair to bed,
the living room and back. Despite bursitis
he maneuvers her, my mother wrapped

in a bathrobe, scarves and wig discarded,
apologizing, This is too much for you. 
Step, pause, shuffle, shift of weight, 

step, step, turn, my father 
watching her, his movements slow and tender
as though they had all the time in the world.
from Dangerous Enough (Presa Press, 2014)

Sunset
Photograph, ©2022 Miroslava Panayotova

The Emperor

Every life needs edges.
I protect you from the meadow’s 
wanton splendor,
passion running amok.

Lean against my law
the way a child lets go
into a father’s arms. Pruned 
and tethered vines bear stronger fruit.

Defy me 
if the sobbing
of jailed innocents
grows louder than rain.

Kill me 
when the names 
for animals and sky
replace the animals and sky.
from Ordinary Magic (NYQ Books, 2016)

©2022 Alison Stone
All rights reserved


Alison Stone…

…has published seven full-length collections, Zombies at the Disco (Jacar Press, 2020), Caught in the Myth (NYQ Books, 2019), Dazzle (Jacar Press, 2017), Masterplan, collaborative poems with Eric Greinke (Presa Press, 2018), Ordinary Magic, (NYQ Books, 2016), Dangerous Enough (Presa Press 2014), and They Sing at Midnight, which won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award; as well as three chapbooks. She has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin Award.

Website / Stone Tarot



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