by Lisa Bickmore


it beats, an urgent stranger

                                                            at the door

            knocking

                                    heaves within its cage, seized

                        convulsed

                                                sick with yearning

                                                            a vagrant wash of gravel

            thrown tumbling

                                                  down a slope

                                                                                    accident

of fickle drift

                                    it wants

                                                            escape, wants its

            voice to open

                                                into ether

                                                                         strangers

choir to me

                           this song I once held

            in common with them

                                                                                    now, alone

            in a back row             I’m

                                    broken

                                                     to stay   and am wild

to go

                        though ever

                                                            have I wandered

            from this place

                                                still                  I am

                                                            here,

                                                                                    little hum,

                        psalm’s selvedge

                                                                        a fetter, binding

            curb

                                    to my bent

                                                                        momentary beggar              

to the searing

                                                to tongues of flame

                                                                         after “Come thou fount of every blessing”


LISA BICKMORE is the author of three books of poems: Haste (Signature Books, 1994), flicker (winner of the 2014 Antivenom Prize from Elixir Press), and Ephemerist (Red Mountain Press, 2017). Her poems and video work have been published in Tar River Poetry, Sugar House Review, SouthWord, Hunger Mountain Review, Terrain.org, Quarterly West, The Moth, MappingSLC.org, and elsewhere. In 2015, her poem ‘Eidolon’ was awarded the Ballymaloe International Poetry Award. She is Professor of English at Salt Lake Community College, where she teaches writing of all sorts. She is the founder and publisher of the new nonprofit literary press, Lightscatter Press.


Photo: “Ermita San Isidro” by Jörg Bergmann